The Dickinson College Student
Senate (DCSS) was founded in April of 1908 as a male-only organization
designed to both represent and organize the student body of the college.
Like the Student Senate of the 21st century, the earliest Dickinson
Student Senates focused on being the voice of the students, ensuring
that the administration, faculty and staff were aware of the student
community’s opinions and suggestions about issues ranging from housing
to academic schedules. In 1936, the Senate was integrated to include
women, and a preexisting female-only governmental assembly was officially
incorporated into the membership of the Senate.
Since its inception, the Dickinson College Student Senate has been responsible
for approving, reviewing and funding student organizations. The origins
of the CAEC (Constitutional and Election Affairs Committee) and the
Finance Committee are found in the original Governance agreement between
the students and the administration and faculty that permitted the formation
of a student-run governmental assembly. This Governance agreement is
the fundamental foundation document of the DCSS and ensures limits of
student self-governance as it pertains to Senatorial powers.
Later expansions of Senatorial mandate occurred in the 1970s and 80s,
when the precursors of the current All-College Committees were tested.
These committees were essentially the college’s preexisting administrative
and staff committees assigned to review academics, finances and other
broad topics. During this period in Dickinson history, students were
asked to become members of these once restricted and confidential committees
with the intent of providing the students with a voice at the highest
levels of operational decision-making in the school.
As of the Summer of 2004, the Dickinson College Archives have begun
to organize and collect the once scattered documents of the DCSS into
a coherent collective record. These documents include lists of past
Presidents, minutes, agendas and budgets. There is also a limited collection
of Presidential journals and papers available for review. Entitled the,
“Dickinson College Student Senate Collection,” this archive will continue
to grow, and as more research is done the history of the DCSS, as provided
on this website, will begin to expand into a narrative of the evolution
of student self-governance at Dickinson College.
Senate is a great source of information about the College especially in
the areas of finance, policies and the College curriculum. We encourage
students to take advantage of Senate by joining us for a Senate meeting.
Our weekly meetings are held Tuesday from 6pm-8pm in the Temple of Minerva