Issue 7, Jeff Wilson, News - By on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 03:28
President Sharon Herzberger hosted an open forum for Society alumni in Deihl Hall on Friday, Oct. 15. The meeting was designed to provide alumni with an opportunity to ask the President questions about the recent suspension of the Metaphonian [Met] and Lancer Societies, as well as questions about societies in general, in a closed environment. Associate Dean of Students Andre Coleman, ISC Chairs senior Jade Hernandez and junior James Lott were in attendance, as well as approximately 10 alumni.
In addition to answering questions regarding the Mets and Lancers, the forum was also held to inform alumni about current policies regarding societies.
“While there was a lot of conversation about the Mets and Lancers, there were also conversations about other societies,” Coleman said. “Alumni know what they’ve been through, but often there is a gap between what they know and what’s happening now. We really wanted it to be an open forum. We wanted to meet the needs of people that were there.”
Notwithstanding, a significant portion of the forum was dedicated to the Sept. 19 suspension of the Metaphonian and Lancer Societies.
“The event was held to explain the [suspension] process to alumni—why we have this process and how the process is executed,” Lott said.
One of the questions brought up concerned the fact that even though the offences for which the societies were suspended occurred over JanTerm, they were not suspended until September.
“Part of the issue is that we did not become fully aware [of the offences] until this semester,” Coleman said. “Once we had good information, we were able to arrange a hearing and apply the appropriate sanctions. The ISC constitution says that once we determine that a case has merit, we have to arrange a hearing within 72 hours.”
The forum was also created to deal with the alumni’s reaction to the suspension.
“People’s reactions tend to follow a normal process,” Coleman said. “First there’s shock, then disbelief and finally there’s understanding. With this particular case, once we gave people good information, they started to settle down.”
The President also praised the Whittier community’s reaction to the situation.
“Having just gone to Whittier weekend, I would say that [students] are acting sympathetically with their colleagues,” Herzberger said. “They are being calm about it. I think they’re hopeful that the societies involved will come out stronger.”
While Coleman referenced the need for administration to provide guidance to societies, he also stressed individual accountability.
“The reality is that, as an institution, we cannot be in all places at all times,” Coleman said. “Philosophically, we don’t want to be in all places at all times. We want to empower students to have control and ownership of their own organizations. [We] have to honor and acknowledge that they are in control and they make their own choices.”
Lott was optimistic about the prospect of the suspended societies appealing successfully and being reinstated early.
“If [the Lancers and Metaphonians] continue to be as compliant as they have been, then there’s no reason they won’t be back early,” Lott said.
Coleman also complimented certain aspects of the suspended societies, including the way the Lancers reacted to their suspension and the Metaphonians’ efforts to improve their group GPA.
“[The societies] really do make good decisions a large majority of the time,” Coleman said. “The bad news is that when they make a mistake, it’s headline news.”
Attempts at contacting alumni that attended the forum were unsuccessful. Other alumni contacted declined to comment.