A few weeks ago I met with the Residence Life team of Chad, Katie, and Neal, to try to find some middle ground between Senate’s coed floor proposal and their apparent disapproval. I heard some positive things, like a willingness to follow the President Council’s lead and implement whatever PC decides. But it quickly became clear that there was no support for any form of a coed floor initiative, at least not until the student body grew significantly in size. And so I tried to find new middle ground through a compromise of coed apartment options for third and fourth year students. After working through some minor issues, I asked for official Residence Life support for this new initiative. Two of the three offered support for implementing coed apartments in the near future, but without the third I could not attain official Res-Life approval.
And so the proposal moved to the President’s Council, which met on April 7. After deliberations, they decided not to move forward with the proposal at this time. Part of their reasoning rested on the assertion that current coed living opportunities, in Kenwood, Howell, and East Hall, are sufficient for our campus. They suggested that the “developmental model” used by Residence Life — an expansion of opportunities once students mature into their third and fourth years — is the right model for Goshen College at this point. These positions run counter to the language and purpose of the proposal, so it is not a surprise that the final verdict was a “no.”
By any account, this has been a frustrating process. Yet, we as a student body do not have to give up yet. Not only will there be the usual changes in students and faculty/staff next year, there will also be changes in the makeup of the President’s Council, which may give new life to the relationship between Senate and Administration. And tomorrow, elections will be held to decide who will represent the students in cabinet positions on Student Senate. I am running again, so this could be construed as shameless self-promotion. But more importantly, whoever ends up on Senate will have the opportunity to give this proposal and others like it a second chance. My hope is that an effective student senate next year will take up these kinds of gender initiatives and seek to enlarge student influence in the new-look administration. That the proposal even got to a President’s Council deliberation is a good first step. But let’s keep working to make Goshen College a school we’re proud to call our own.