Editorial: student government needs real power

Editorial Board

Although the abolishment of Student Body President and Class President positions will change the nature of student government at the school, neither will fix the primary problem of the Community Council (CC): The CC has no unique authority and therefore is not taken seriously by the student body or its members. Any Horace Mann student can spearhead initiatives — and the bureaucratic nature of the CC means that those initiatives are generally easier done apart from student government. 

The Record proposes that as our school rethinks which positions are necessary and which are not, we also reconsider the purpose of such positions. We believe that the CC has the potential to serve as the much-needed link between the student body and the school’s administration. To fulfill this purpose, the CC should meet with the administration — including the grade deans and division heads — regularly. When possible, the administration should hear feedback from the CC before making major decisions concerning the Upper Division. The decision to remove SBPs was shocking not only because of the position’s legacy but also because the administration did not ask for student input about a matter that directly concerns us. 

This shift in purpose would better define the role of the CC in the UD. It would legitimize the CC as an organization, as its members would have greater agency. Furthermore, a CC with influence would improve transparency between the school and students; it would signal that the administration values student input.

The new structure of student government may clarify responsibilities for elected representatives, but the CC needs real authority in order to represent its students.