ASB plans to advocate for student voices in context committee

Posted on Jun 15 2017 - 8:16am by Lyndy Berryhill

Associated Student Body senators will continue to push for student representation on the this fall.

This spring the Ole Miss AAB passed a resolution by a vote of 34-11 to pause the work of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context. The committee has been working since 2015 to review buildings, monuments and other sites on campus.

Senators and authors Coco McDonnell, Hunter Story and Brady Kies wrote the resolution because they felt students were not being adequately represented on the committee.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter later released a statement and said that the committee would continue its purpose of assessing campus sites.

There was only one student on the committee, who was former ASB President Austin Powell.

“Dr. Vitter’s response let all of the students the senate represents down,” said Kies, a rising sophomore criminal justice major.

“We presented facts and persuaded 30 of 41 senators based on factual evidence, but of course we are dismissed by the administration,” Kies said.

Kies said members of the ASB have not made an official decision on what the next steps should be, but when school starts back they will meet and determine what actions will be taken.

“While Dr. Vitter’s response wasn’t surprising, I know that myself and the other senators who helped write this legislation and those who supported and voted in favor of it, are very disappointed in the response,” Kies said. “The Chancellor, once again, is pushing his own agenda and is not listening to the agenda of the students, the body I was elected to represent.”

Kies said the authors thoroughly researched their proposition, which included interviews with committee members, attending listening sessions and meeting with students.

Kies said it is time for students to demand their voices be heard.

“Myself and other members of the ASB senate will continue to fight for student representation, and we will not back down,” Kies said. “We are tired of personal agendas being pushed and not the agenda of the student body, the body myself and 46 other senators were elected to represent.”

Fellow author Hunter Story, a senior legal studies major said in the long-term, the ASB senators plan to continue putting the wants and needs of the students first.

“With this issue and any other issue that comes up the goal will be the same: making sure the voices of the students are heard,” Story said. “Like with the parking policy that came out this week. The opinions of those directly affected, the students, was not courted first and that can not happen anymore.”

Story said any change to the university or policy enactment should not occur without the consent of its largest stakeholders, which is the student body.


Chancellor Vitter’s response:

First, I would like to recognize and thank the students of the ASB for their service in student government and being active participants in the life of our campus.  Student government is a tremendous responsibility and deserves much effort and commitment.  Our university has long been committed to honest and open dialogue about its history and how to make our campuses more welcoming and inclusive.  

Unfortunately, the ASB resolution and discussion around the resolution were based upon inaccurate information. Since I first announced on March 29, 2016, that I would establish the CACHC, we have been transparent and open with our communications with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. From meetings to determine the criteria for membership, the nomination process, a dedicated website, online input forms for both Phase I & II, group meetings, email communications, ads, and social media platforms, among others, we have sought input from our community every step along the way to keep all aware of the process and to engage the public.  I especially encourage all to check the full site, which provides details and is regularly updated.  I look forward to receiving the committee’s report, representing the CACHC’s extensive work over this entire academic year.”