SGA defines Butler with ideals statement

Most students in Student Government Association assembly rallied against an honor code but passed a similar measure, called the Student Ideals Statement, last semester.

The Student Ideals Statement will be placed in about 30 classrooms, spaces and lobbies around campus.

Senior Michael Tirman, a finance and music history major and member of the Council on Presidential Affairs who developed the language of the statement, said the controversy arose because students believed the word “code” implied consequences for not following the outlined values.

Some people also feared it would become a written contract between students and the university.

CPA decided instead to make the statement into something that highlights the values students hold, instead of making it something people believed they had to adhere to or “face the consequences.”

“We don’t need another rule,” Tirman said. “We need something that’s like a vision statement.”

The original idea for the ideals statement came from students who requested a values list or code. Tirman said one had been compiled in the past, but it was more convoluted and strict than the current form.

“CPA wanted to turn it into something less dogmatic in terms of rules and turn it into something more uplifting about who we are as Butler students and as an academic community,” Tirman said.

SGA representative Ashley Drees, a junior actuarial science major, said she and most representatives were against the original statement because it seemed like a contract. She said the debate was helpful and resulted in a statement she could support.

“People scrutinized every word, but it was good to see SGA that active in something,” she said. “People were actually getting engaged and involved.”

She said people agreed to the statement once it became more unifying than contractual.

“It’s kind of like a dictionary definition of how you would describe Butler University,” she said. “This is what our student body feels describes Butler.”

Other then being placed around campus, Tirman said the statement will be used in freshman orientation and hopefully make its way into the student handbook.

He agreed with Drees, and said it could also become a type of unifying mission statement for students.

“It’s not intrusive, it’s not something people have to abide by,” he said. “At the same time it distinguishes the student body as having this sense of purpose, whether or not we agree on specifics.”

Tirman said very few other institutions have such a policy, and he could see other schools following Butler’s lead and adopting similar statements.

The first hurdle, however, is gaining the support of students.

“Although SGA’s accepted it, there’s a whole other level of having the student body look at this and say, ‘Yes, that’s a reflection of how I feel,’” Tirman said.

Drees said she also sees the possibility of the statement going unrecognized by students.

“My biggest worry is what’s going to happen now,” she said. “It’s just going to fade away if nothing happens. It will just be something that got passed in 2011, and now we’re done.”


Related posts