Council Needs Better Training for Newcomers

 

The newly minted councilmembers will transition into their roles during a Week 4 meeting, but for the most part, that’s where their training will end, leaving incumbents at an advantage. Even though council runs on tightly regimented rules regarding everything from event budgets to speakers’ lists, their previous training efforts have glossed over even basics, like funding guidelines.

Councilmembers, similarly, do not get their first introduction to Robert’s Rules — the governing structure of A.S. Council — until a councilwide leadership retreat that emphasizes bonding more than training.

Now, knowing the ins and outs of financing student organizations doesn’t mark a candidate as a stellar councilmember. But already-worthy student leaders may find their ideas tempered if they don’t know the finer details of their execution. With training before Week 5, the student body gains informed leaders who can effectively pass legislation without being hampered by protocol they don’t understand.

Another option for council is to establish continuous training throughout the term, as described by Associate Vice President of College Affairs (and United slate candidate for vice president of student life) Leonard Bobbitt. Each meeting would highlight a different area of training, such as engaging with the student body or putting together a budget. By doing so, councilmembers’ questions are more likely to be answered before they even come up. Training in conflict resolution, for one, would allow council to address problems as they arise, rather than in the wake of a crisis.

With elections nearly over and results coming out on Friday, it’s important that the elected candidates remember the heft of their positions. It will be up to them to educate themselves and to hopefully establish a precedent of formal training for future councils.