Pitzer College’s student senate has discontinued posting meeting minutes on its website for the Fall 2019 semester, which are intended to inform students about the proceedings during student senate meetings. The Google Drive folder under which meeting minutes consists of an empty file labelled “2018-2019 Meeting Minutes,” referring to the previous academic year, thus has not been updated by the senate. This move by the California liberal arts college’s student senate could be seen by some as an effort to decrease transparency related to the senate’s activities, making observations of meetings and proceedings more difficult for students and student media.
The senate was also mired in controversy last semester after voting to end Pitzer’s study abroad program with Israel, which was vetoed by the college’s President Melvin L. Oliver, who published a statement warning that such a boycott would compromise “academic freedom” and cause Pitzer to “take a political position.” This veto resulted in another senate vote to demand that Oliver resign, but this motion was defeated.
The student governments of the other Claremont Colleges—a consortium to which Pitzer belongs to—, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, and Scripps Colleges, all have meeting minutes accessible by students or the public. Additionally, while Pitzer’s student senate website does have a section detailing submitted meeting minutes from student clubs, but none from the student senate itself.
This development is also not the only time of decreased transparency at Pitzer College, with Pitzer’s Office of Communications warning the Independent last semester that it would not be allowed to attend the study abroad vote, despite being a registered Claremont Colleges student club and another student publication being allowed to attend.
The Independent reached out to a former member of the Pitzer student senate for their opinion on the cessation of publishing meeting minutes. However, the student declined to comment on the recent development, stating that they didn’t want to be “attached in any way shape or form” to Pitzer’s student senate.
The Independent also contacted the student senate via email and its official website to comment on the issue, but has failed to respond to any queries or concerns.