Cultural Life Program Committee
Annual Report, 2011-2012

The Cultural Life Program met 28 times during the 2011-2012 academic session. The first meeting introduced voting mechanisms, changes in the guideline from the previous year, and transition measures put in place to increase scrutiny such as review forms internal to the committee. In this new process, committee members rotated this responsibility of reviewing events, with each proposed event receiving two reviews, followed by full vote. Reviews generated comments from the committee regarding acceptance and rejection, so that resubmission or adjustments could be made to strengthen the rigor of planned events.

Twenty-five electronic ballots and voting sessions allowed the committee to approve 80 individual events in fall term and 101 individual events in spring term. Students thus needed to attend, on average, one of every 23 events. This number is smaller than the actual number of events, as some events (such as theatre productions) run for multiple evenings.

The committee dealt with misleading advertising, poor event orchestration, and deceptive proposals, especially from a student group. Although this ordinarily involves conversations between the committee chair and sponsors or student group members, twice the committee received formal complaints about a breach in the guidelines that resulted in formal letters written to the group and faculty sponsors. In neither case did the committee vote to preclude sponsorship for the term, although warnings were issued about provocation or manipulation of the process that endangered both the program quality and healthy campus dialogue.

The committee also met twice during the year to discuss potential guideline revisions, including in the fall term: temporary measures following organizational change at Furman to determine who would be capable of sponsoring events; rules that perhaps unnecessarily hold groups across campus to similar accountability standards (such as requiring original proposals or explanations of cultural significance); and making the enforcement clause in the guidelines clear as a committee process. In the spring term, these discussions included: prohibiting student performers from obtaining credit, faculty participation versus departmental sponsorship as a way to improve the quality of the entire program and improve proposals, and changes that would limit submission to faculty. The committee expects to edit in all changes except departmental sponsorship, handing that conversation over to Academic Policies for the 2012- 2013 academic year.

Respectfully submitted by the 2011-2012 Cultural Life Program Committee:
J. Horney (ECON), B. Inabinet, Chair (COM), W. Matsumura (HIST), R. McClain (ART), N. Sloan (LIB), L. Thompson (BIO), V. Crowe-Tipton (Chaplain), B. Barron (Registrar), N. Lipsey (Student), N. Castiglione (Student), O. McFadden (Student Life)

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