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Chaparral 2022-2023: 31.6 Senate Update

Senate Update

by Roger Dickes
Academic Senate President

Rather than focus energy on any issue of the moment or grand theme, I would just like to close by sharing some of the most fun things I’ve been able to do here at the college. I wouldn’t say being Senate President hasn’t been fun, but before I began, I was told by John Queen that I should “prepare to be eaten alive” by the work. True facts, lol.

Recently, I had a look back at the website from when I was director of the art gallery at the college. I remember that time of my life very fondly and some of the exhibitions were really fun to coordinate and install. Looking back reminds me that I am interested more in what our college can be than what it should be.

At one point, the gallery had a huge inflated column in it along with these very playful junk sculptures. Here is another show I was able to organize, which, in retrospect, I am glad was so well documented. Of course, I threw my own work into a group a show, classic sheepish nonsense, but the show is ok.

head of Sebulba
Head of Sebulba

Probably the craziest thing that happened was when an artist blew up an air mattresses and capsized a Dodge Dart in front of IT (play the movie … it’s sculpture!). And it’s worth looking at this show by two friends who were, at the time, interested in ikebana. If you look in the upper left-hand corner of the webpage, you’ll see me way up on a forklift.

Right now, with one of my classes, I just finished sculpting the head of Sebulba, one of the pod racers in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It’s been really fun – and just as challenging as running Senate – to teach (and learn) how to sculpt with digital clay. It sounds silly, but I would love to have any of you in one of my classes, if you feel like fiddling on the screen. I could go on, but that’s more links than you probably have time for.

I see my work as Senate President as continuous with these other work experiences at the college and it has been just as rewarding – in a way of making connections, solving problems, and pushing boundaries; for example, I opened my run as Senate President by passing a resolution condemning the murder of George Floyd and will close by passing a motion supporting GUSD teachers’ effort to teach comprehensive and inclusive sex education. These positions expressed by Senate are congruous with my perspective as an artist and my preference to think about our work in terms of aspiration instead of compliance.

I am proud to have kept the Senate going through the pandemic and excited to see the college emerge, albeit a bit foggy-brained, from it. I am deeply grateful for the support I received from everyone I’ve worked with and I believe in the college’s values and the experience of community we are working to create. Oops, almost forgot my last track of the month, a song I used to sing to my kid when he was a baby in his crib, trying to get to sleep.


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