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President Chodosh Addresses Concerns Over Social Changes

December 4, 2013

President Chodosh Addresses Concerns Over Social Changes
by Manav Kohli

In the past few weeks, student concern over changing social policy and the administration’s transparency has been mounting. In response to the expressed student interest in the issue, President Chodosh released a message hoping to address concerns and begin constructive discussion between students and the administration. On November 19, President Chodosh visited the ASCMC Senate to begin working with students in a tangible way. He began by noting the polarization of the students and the administration in discussing perceived changes to the campus's alcohol policy, and expressed his interest in meeting with students to talk about the issue. Furthermore, he challenged students to take the lead in finding common ground with the administration and together addressing CMC’s broader collective interests.

Rather than creating a temporary task force, President Chodosh suggested that the school should create a permanent committee on personal and social responsibility that would rely on a high level of student participation. The committee would be comprised of separate subcommittees that addressed finer issues, and together students and the administration would discuss topics such as alcohol and drugs, sexual assault and Title IX, academic honesty and integrity, and the diversity of the school’s climate.

The committee would also work in conjunction with various resource groups (such as CMS Athletics and the Office of Off-Campus Study), and would hopefully begin meeting with the upcoming spring semester. In addition, after President Chodosh conferred with the family of Ali Mirza '15, the Mirza family expressed interest in creating a small Dean of Students fund to hold an annual Mirza Summit on Social and Personal Responsibility. Ideally, the conference would set the campus discussion and committee in motion.

President Chodosh expressed interest in drawing from the conversations raised at the summit and by the permanent committee and bringing those thoughts to the annual meeting with the Board of Trustees in March. That discussion would also include a number of alumni and some student and faculty participation.

He further outlined the specifics of the committee in an email he sent to students on November 22. President Chodosh also stated that Jeff Huang, Vice President for Student Affairs, Admission & Financial Aid, would partner with “students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and parents” in creating the committee. Finally, he emphasized the need for students and the administration to work together in moving forward with the conversation.

President Chodosh finished by challenging students to become engaged in the issue rather than pinning the administration as a scapegoat. Taking a proactive approach, students have organized an event at the Athenaeum this Saturday, December 11, at 11:00 a.m. that President Chodosh will introduce with a brief address. Most importantly, the event will provide an open forum discussion for students to gather to voice concerns over the school’s changing social climate and constructively consider solutions that engage both students and the administration.

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