Letters to the Editor

‘Congress in Recess’ (5/16)

To the Editor:? The May 16 editorial “Congress in Recess” asserts that for the past two terms, School Congress “has been effective in creating dialogue between students and teachers.” This year, School Congress has brought faculty members and students together in small groups to discuss the advising system, honesty, technology on campus, study hours and campus social space. While the Student Council was thrilled with the past two sessions of School Congress, this term we have elected to pursue another valuable medium of communicating with the faculty and administration. The editorial erroneously charges that School Congress did not meet this term due to a lack of “pressing issues” to discuss. This term, Student Council has instead addressed such issues at its weekly meetings with an administrative or faculty guest. In the past, Student Council meetings were attended, not surprisingly, by students. Now each meeting is focused around a key issue, with that issue’s administrative or faculty expert on-hand to talk. So when Student Council discussed the DC System on May 4, Dean of Students Marlys Edwards was there to hear our concerns and offer her own. The editorial rightly mentions campus concerns such as Assessment Week, technology and “requirements and credit” as potential topics of discussion for School Congress. We are actively addressing these issues in our newly adopted meeting format. Valerie Roman, Director of Technology, is scheduled to attend Student Council this Sunday. With Ms. Roman, we will discuss the future of the bandwidth policy, online overnight excuses, campus WiFi and other technological issues. To address the recent dismantling of cluster-based intramural athletics and other campus athletic issues, we have planned a meeting with Athletic Director Mike Kuta. Already this term, Student Council meetings have featured discussions with Associate Head of School Becky Sykes, Ms. Edwards and Associate Dean of Students Carlos Hoyt. Last week’s meeting with Mr. Hoyt provided Student Council with the opportunity to offer student-input towards next year’s PACE/Life Issues program. Like School Congress, these focused meetings allow the Student Council to gather information and discuss the many issues facing Phillips Academy students. These forums have already proved to be effective and meaningful platforms for campus dialogue. In our weekly meetings and in School Congress, we are grateful for the administration’s and faculty’s willingness to gather for candid discussions about central issues. We hope that this new meeting format, along with the continued use of School Congress, will improve communication between students and the administration and faculty. Students are invited to attend all Student Council meetings. We meet on Sunday evenings at 6:30 in the Trustees Room (3rd Floor, GW). If students have questions or suggestions concerning Student Council, do not hesitate to contact Tantum Collins or myself. Thank you, Jonathan Adler ’08 Student Council Vice President