Student Government prefects evaluate success of merger

Increasing the number of Student Government meetings to twice or three times a week is one of the proposals Student Government is making in evaluating the success of the first year of merged government. They also passed a separate proposal on Monday that would increase the involvement of non-elected students in the Honor Board.

Student Government intends to have at least one of these new meetings be open to the public, Senior Prefect Nuriel Moghavem ’07 said.

“We’ve never been against open meetings,” Moghavem said. “The only problem was that since we only had one a week, we spent it talking about things we could only speak about in private.”
The evaluation was requested by Head of School Dr. Jeanne Huybrechts. In it, the members of the Student Government unanimously agreed the merger of Student Council and Honor Board was a success. 

“Has the merger been a success?” Huybrechts said. “It’s too early to tell. Year One for any new program — even the most well thought-out ones — brings some unanticipated problems and surprises, so I favor sticking with the original plan: Try this for two years before deciding on its success.” 

In the proposal passed earlier this week, two non-elected students would  participate on every case. Deans will select students who they feel are “responsible enough, mature enough and trustworthy enough,” Moghavem said.

The plan passed in the Student Government meeting with nine of 14 members voting for it. If it is approved by the administration, the system will be adopted for the remainder of the year.

“There isn’t enough understanding of what the Honor Board does, and this will increase that and student involvement with the honor code,” Moghavem said.

In their self-evaluation, Student Government also proposes holding more all school assemblies and fewer venues, in an effort to improve communication between the Student Government and the student body. In addition to citing communication difficulties, the senior prefects acknowledged that they are often burdened by having too much on their plates.

“I think that it is an awful lot of work to be done by Student Government and I think that it has been difficult for 14 students to carry out the duties of the past Student Council and the Honor Board,” Huybrechts said.

“Any changes that they want to make that would disperse the amount of work in some way would be good. Expanding the number of elected members could be a solution, or even the amount of school hours that are given over to Student Council.”

Another problem is a lack of Ad Hoc Committees.

The lack of Ad hoc committees have forced Student Government to take on more responsibilities that, in many cases, it would have liked to outsource.

“We need these new committees to work in order for Student Government to work,” Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra told the Chronicle last March.

Without enough Ad hoc committees, Salamandra said that “the whole ideal is gone because we are back to decision making led by a few individuals.”