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ASCMC Executive Board Beat: November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

ASCMC Executive Board Beat: November 16, 2015
by Malea Martin and Blake Lapin

Last night's ASCMC Executive Board meeting discussed a very eventful and contentious past week.

To start off, Dormitory Affairs Chair Nicky Blumm ’17 stated that he met with the Resident Assistants (RAs) and they agreed to work together to create dormitory-based discussions with snacks and refreshments to facilitate safe conversation. RA Liaison Ben Turner ’16 commented that the RAs are continuously making an effort to fulfill their duties despite the absence of the Dean of Students. [Update: President Chodosh announced this morning that Jeff Huang will take over as acting Dean of Students for the rest of the academic year.]

Sophomore Class President Russell Salazar ’18 sent out an email to his class to start discussions in the Class of 2018 about this week's events. The email was met with positive reactions and many suggestions for the upcoming resource center the College has committed to creating for marginalized students.

Concluding the updates, Presidential Advisor Eliana Keinan ‘17 reported on the It's On Us Week of Action for combating sexual assault on campus, stating that though it was overshadowed, many students showed support by wearing "It's On Us" t-shirts.

ASCMC President Will Su ‘16 then mentioned the constructive nature of last Friday's dinner at the Athenaeum hosted by Dean of Faculty Peter Uvin for students, faculty, and staff. He also touched upon various discussions taking place this week: for example, there will a faculty meeting today at lunch to decide whether classes should be canceled on Thursday for additional discussion.

Next, Senior Class President Kathryn Chakmak ‘16 brought up Nathaniel Tsai ‘17’s "Letter to the CMC Community," commending it for expressing the different sides of recent events. Sophomore Joey Yamada ‘18, however, had a different stance. She expressed concern with associating recent, specific events with the movement as a whole, because this focus may cause people to misunderstand the movement's core ideas. CMCers of Color has created a page on Medium, where they have made announcements clarifying the positions they officially endorse.

Blumm shifted the conversation by asking a question: "With criticism of ASCMC's leadership through recent protests and subsequent discussions, what can ASCMC do better for the student body?" Su suggested that ASCMC could have also released a statement addressing other student opinions.

Executive Vice President Iris Liu ‘16 also questioned if having a strong opinion compromises one’s ability to be representative of the student body. Liu made the point that to voice any strong opinion is to accept the fact that someone will end up feeling marginalized.

Turner responded to Liu's question by expressing that her stand for marginalized students is an essential action of a leader and that her job as Executive Vice President is to be okay with stepping “outside of her comfort zone” to give a voice to those previously unheard. Salazar ended the discussion by saying Liu's ability to recognize and back the movement allowed for many students to come to the same communication level, which is something that all leaders must strive to do.

During this meeting, the Diversity and Inclusion Amendment, which creates a new position on the Board for a Diversity and Inclusion Chair, was discussed and passed. President Pro-Tempore Michael Irvine ’16 went through the premise of the new committee and chair; there will be a student senate committee comprised of one student representative from Brothers and Sisters Alliance (BSA), Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Generation University (GenU), Asian Pacific American Mentor program (APAM), and CMCers of Color, plus three students at large selected through an application process.

The Chair will be responsible, but not solely responsible, for promoting issues of identity and diversity within ASCMC's Executive Board. The chair will manage programming through club fairs and working with the Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students to represent students of all marginalized identities. He or she will sit on the Board and will have a vote on the Budget Committee and Election Committee. The roles and powers of the Chair are intentionally vague so that the committee has full power to define and shape the role.

Su made it clear that the long-term goal for the new chair is to represent not only the groups currently involved in the new committee, but every possible group on campus representing marginalized students, such as women’s rights groups and disabled student groups.

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