Institute Strong Institutions for Institutional Strength

Evan Farley, ‘20

The importance of institutions is often overlooked on both a micro and macroscopic scale. From international bodies to local government, citizens who depend on basic institutions are the first to dismiss the value of establishments that organize day to day operations in their life. Francis Fukuyama writes about this in his book The Origins of Political Order. He explains creation of the present disdain towards institutions in a global perspective, zooming in to the county level. But the same attitude exists on an even smaller level, here at BHSEC. On every level, people hate on the organizations that contribute to the depth of their education. People loathe classes which burden them with homework. People abhor the administration for its seemingly mindless bureaucracy and restrictions it places on their amazing ideas. People find clubs simply intolerable for their weekly commitment of time and energy. And yet, these various institutions (admittedly a vague definition of institution) play a vital role in students learning.

These three institutions all have the same goal of advancing student progress at BHSEC with very different methods of achieving such a feat. In doing so, they all receive hostility from the students they are trying to serve. To protect the integrity of their mission, each come up with certain written rules and regulations that serve as guides. Without these blueprints, each institution would be a bunch of people with good intentions but no path to execution. And without the written rule of law, the good intentions might sour. There would be limited transparency and less productivity. These laws are vital to everyday life. They can take the form of community agreements, Chancellor’s regulations, and bylaws, among other shapes. They might not be extremely noticeable, but that is the fault of society. These documents should be held in the highest of regard. This does not mean the first set of rules must be permanent. Rules should be contained in living documents, open to changes. But without such a deed, people have a right to complain about the institutions that run them. Without a set of regulations, where rules can change at any time, then students have a right to think it is unjust. Luckily, most clubs, classes, and the administration have such documents.

To those institutions that don’t have such valuable rules, take this as a call to do what is right, and institute bylaws. It will legitimize your club beyond a reasonable doubt. It will show prospective members what to expect. And it will allow for a sense of purpose that cannot be achieved without documentation of the regulation. Don’t fear the intimidating presence of the bylaws. Love them. Embrace them. Use them.

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