Previously, any UChicago student could subscribe to the listhost (firstname.lastname@example.org) to keep an eye on CC’s activities. Meeting agendas and minutes are regularly sent along the listhost, in addition to correspondence between members of CC and the Executive Slate. Under the new policy, only SG officers are allowed to subscribe to the listhost. To that end, this evening SG removed all non-SG students from the listhost’s subscriber roll.
“It makes sense to keep [the listhost] for CC/SG officers only because it allows people to have open discussions about contentious topics and to present ideas that are still in their formative states without fear of someone judging them or reporting on it,” SG President Youssef Kalad said in an email message.
Kalad suggested that students curious about CC’s activities should visit the SG website, sg.uchicago.edu, where meeting minutes will be uploaded, as they have been in previous years.
While Kalad’s reason for closing the listhost is understandable, I have major concerns with the new policy. There’s a big difference between the convenience of automatically receiving CC minutes in your inbox and having to take the extra step of downloading them from the SG website. Thus, fewer students will read CC minutes as a result of this policy. Also, it’s not all about minutes. The CC listhost carries important and interesting discussions between SG officers that some non-SG students find useful. They may even read these discussions and think, “Wow, SG really deals with issues that matter to me!”, or feel compelled to contact their representatives and voice their opinions on the issue at question.
Kalad is right to say that some CC discussions contain information that is too sensitive or premature to discuss in public, but classification should be the exception, not the rule. Surely there’s a way for CC to only classify discussions that truly should be kept under wraps, while conducting nonsensitive business in public view.
The biggest threat to SG’s credibility on campus is a student body that’s uninformed of SG’s work. This new policy makes information about SG less accessible and less available. Hopefully SG can offset this unfortunate policy change by expanding transparency in other ways.