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Group debates diversity council recommendations

Margaret Hynds | Thursday, November 14, 2013

At Wednesday night’s meeting, the student Senate voted against a series of recommendations by the Diversity Council that will be submitted to the offices of Student Affairs, Auxiliary Affairs, and the Provost concerning diversity.

Last week, senior and chair of the Diversity Council Luis Llanos and junior and student government liaison to the Diversity Council Carolina Ramirez presented the recommendations for fostering an environment of inclusion on campus. The recommendations represented what minority students said would improve their on-campus feelings of inclusion.

The final clause in the resolution, a subject of a heated debate, reads: “Resolved, that the Student Senate supports the efforts and recommendations of Diversity Council.”

After the Senate discussed adjustments to the resolution, the group an amendment proposed by O’Neill Hall senator Kyle McCaffery.

“Resolved, That the Student Senate supports the efforts and recommendations of Diversity Council, and that the discussion of recommendations be continued by the offices of Student Affairs, Auxiliary Services, and the Provost, so that any ambiguities in the resolution will be clarified.”

This version of the Senate’s resolution was the one that was up for discussion and final vote during yesterday’s meeting.

The objections about the original statement stemmed from the statement’s implication that the Senate as a whole supports the recommendations of Diversity Council.

Duncan Hall senator Bob Pak said, “I don’t feel as though most students would enjoy having [a cultural enrichment requirement] stacked on – if you put students in a situation where they’re being forced to talk about openness and diversity, they’ll be less invested.”

Carroll Hall senator Joe Kelly took objection to another recommendation. “I don’t support having rectors becoming more involved in Frosh-O staff selection. I would appreciate changing the language to say we ‘support the spirit’ of the recommendations.”

Alumni Hall senator Juan Jose Daboub proposed the following amendment: “Resolved, That the student senate supports the efforts and recognizes the hard work of the diversity council.”

Fisher Hall senator Michael Lindt said, “I feel like that wording makes it sound like we’re saying ‘good job,’ but that’s it.”

Siegfried Hall senator Rohan Andresen said, “These recommendations are coming from a group within our community, and the Diversity Council has heard their complaints. I think it would be unfair to our constituents – especially the ‘silent minority’-to just push them away.”

During the final discussion, Club Coordination Council [CCC] president Maggie Armstrong said, “in adding the ambiguity clause, I think we essentially negate showing our support.”

When her resolution went up for final vote, it failed to pass by a margin of one vote.

Senior class president Carolina Wilson, who penned the original resolution, voted against the amended version.

“I felt that the word ‘ambiguities’ in the amendment of the final clause means that it would not be in full support of the recommendations that Diversity Council has put forth and I am in full support and trust in the recommendations they have come up with,” she said.

The resolution and recommendations of the Diversity Council will still be submitted in the coming weeks, and, should someone propose it, a new resolution in support of Diversity Council’s recommendations could be voted upon by the Senate.

Contact Margaret Hynds at mhynds@nd.edu.