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Editorial: CL&L excludes students' opinion with excessive oversight

Nov. 17, 2010

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Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Last week the Honors Residential College nearly lost a major part of its community when Jeremy Goss, a community leader for the fourth floor of Alexander Residential Hall, was terminated for the use of Baylor ID pictures to play the game Assassins.

However, HRC residents rallied together and showed their disdain for the firing and now -- according to sources close to the situation -- Goss will be reinstated following the Thanksgiving break.

The backlash of this wrongful firing shouldn't end at the CL's reinstatement. Campus Living and Learning should be further investigated for the rash decision made last week.

Students deserve to know just how this near firing came about

because nothing about this incident was normal and it calls into question the propriety of CL&L policies and procedures.

As the department that oversees where students live on campus and the opportunities afforded to them while living in the residence halls, CL&L has a natural responsibility to protect students and their safety. In this respect, the department has definitely succeeded.

The department's innovative communities -- from Engaged Learning Groups to Living-Learning Centers -- offer unique experiences for students.

The highly selective process of becoming a community leader for one of the halls allows for exceptional student leaders to thrive across campus, offering students a mentor from which to learn and promoting community even more.

However, the firing of a CL for a violation that, in actuality, violated none, highlights that perhaps CL&L has overstepped its jurisdiction.

It seems the prestige that comes along with the CL&L label has created a subculture within our university. No longer is CL&L for the students or by the students -- it is something entirely different.

Now, the department is exclusive. For instance, community leaders are discouraged from talking to the Lariat on any subject.

The private matters that community leaders handle are obviously not of concern for the media. However, we are placed at a major disadvantage when the leaders of a populous group of students are banned from talking to us on the matters that directly concern on campus students, such as Baylor 2012.

Last week's firing showed that the department is acting before considering students'

opinions.

When students in the Honors Residential College heard of the Goss' pending termination, several students chalked in front of Alexander and Memorial halls.

With phrases like "Free Jeremy," "We want Jeremy, not CL&L," and "We demand answers," the students silently protested the firing and the nontransparent proceedings surrounding it.

There is a clear need for the department to enforce rules and encourage community within our university, but that does not mean it should be overly controlling of its workers, who are students first.

In fact, the CL at the center of this situation has a stellar resume.

He is a member of numerous advisory boards, including two CL&L -- specific boards, one of which he chaired last year.

From talking with his residents on the night of their protest, it was clear that he added much to the community of the Honors Residential College.

Why was such a violation considered to be a fireable offense when Assassins has been bonding the residents of HRC for three years?

CL&L is responsible for the safety of students on campus in their living quarters. But how far do the rights of the department reach?

The answer to this question should be narrowly defined to protect workers of CL&L and students affected by its policies.

One thing is certain: Goss is exactly what the on-campus student community needed and we are glad to see his reinstatement. CL&L should, however, go beyond the reinstatement and be answerable to students -- the students that want answers, the students that almost lost a mentor and the students the department is charged with protecting.