Not long ago, we reacted with optimism to a reinvigorated SGA Senate that knocked down issue after issue under the resourceful and ambitious leadership of SGA President Michael Panzer ’10.
Panzer’s SGA seemed poised for more breakthroughs in the new year, having passed a bill in December to fund a renewed outdoor orientation program for first-years through 2012. This week, though, it looks as though the Senate’s luck has finally run out.
Old Chapel’s sudden withdrawal of support for MiddView — a program it had previously expressed great regret over dismantling — is nothing short of disrespectful. There is clear demand for these orientation programs, and those in a position to restore them have done the research, crunched the numbers and made a strong case for themselves in spite of the slog of bureaucratic inertia. We deeply regret the administration’s decision to leave an organic, creative and fiscally feasible student initiative to wither on the vine.
It’s hard to imagine why this valuable orientation program can’t return. We are tremendously appreciative of this community’s facilities staff, but we find Old Chapel’s defense of postponing MiddView’s reinstatement unconvincing and thin. MiddView orientation programs typically require few staff members to begin with, as participants not already camping in the wilderness spend their evenings at the low-maintenance Bread Loaf campus.
What’s more, the cost of labor and facilities’ operations had been factored into the SGA’s funding estimate long before the initial bill signing. The administration’s reticence in the face of an overwhelmingly intelligent and thorough student proposal ought not to be excused.
Despite this week’s disappointing news, we nevertheless remain hopeful for a compromise. Even if students and their government representatives concede the administration’s point about staffing, perhaps MiddView might easily be reshaped from a pre-orientation activity into a program that runs in the same week as orientation.
Orientation itself could be trimmed from an interminable six days to a more manageable three, although that might involve a separate debate. In any case, we seek to remind students that the end of the road does not lie here. The road ends where we say it does.