SB President Already Embroiled in Policy Work

Photo courtesy of David James

Photo courtesy of David James

New year, new president, at least for the Reed student body. Paxton “Pax” Lloyd-Burchett was elected the next student body president in the Fall 2018 election and has just begun his tenure as Reed student body president. You may know him from the Spanish House, his time as a student body senator, or his Paideia class “Hardcore Motherfuckers Only.” Whether you know him well, not at all, or somewhere in between, you should know that Pax is not in office to mess around.

It was clear from the beginning of our interview that for the student body president (senate and treasurers too), the ball is already rolling, and has been for several weeks before the semester began. This semester, many changes have already taken effect and others are on the verge of coming to fruition. For example, you might have noticed that the website, once the online hub for student functions like appointment applications and funding poll voting, is now in disuse. Funding poll is now supported by Google Forms, and Pax mentioned that appointments will soon be handled through Handshake.

More significantly, Pax told the Quest about proposed changes to the dissent policy, which are on the verge of being enacted. If you have read the preface to Pax’s student body informational email (SB info) from February 3, you know what I am referring to. The current problem with the policy, as Pax wrote in that email, is that “if you dissent incorrectly, you have violated the honor policy this place holds so dear.” Accordingly, the reform he is supporting effectively removes explicit mention of the honor principle from the policy.

As of right now, the proposed policy changes are being reviewed by faculty before a coming vote. Getting to this point has not been easy. “There’s a lot of ability for the policy to be slowed down,” Pax said. Concern over specific policy language and how it might be altered has made the process vulnerable to obstacles that would stall its progress. As it stands right now, the proposed policy reform circumvents that problem by focusing on striking certain lines rather than reforming the policy altogether, said Pax.

While Pax entered office at a key moment in the policy’s movement through the reform process, day-to-day he primarily works as a liaison between student body governance and faculty, staff, and particularly administration. He remarked, “Administrators are working on a different timescale as us. One thing I tell senators is that a quick [timeline] for an administrative project to be finished is about two to three semesters.”

Formally, the student body president has the power to make temporary and long-term emergency appointments to various student body positions and the ability to break ties on a senate vote, but Pax reiterated that one of his main priorities is to provide support for the student senators and their peers in making sure student goals become achievable.

“It might have been nice to be a senator for longer, but at this point I’m really pleased with how things are turning out.” It’s only week two.

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