Daily Egyptian

Some worry new USG Multicultural Affairs Committee may not be the best solution

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Cory Ray

Some senators in the Undergraduate Student Government expressed concerns that its new Multicultural Affairs Committee may strip power from minority groups on campus.

The committee, which is run by USG Vice President Rose Weisenstein, will be a round-table style discussion between different Registered Student Organizations — specifically those representing minority groups. The committee comes as a direct result of the protests and racial concerns during the spring semester, such as the May 2 Strike, Weisenstein said.

Cedric Nartey, a freshman senator for the Black Affairs Council, said the committee would put the power in the hands of USG, taking it away from groups like BAC.

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“I feel like they’re trying to do this with various umbrella groups that they claim this [committee] will help,” Nartey said. “These issues are already solved by the umbrella [groups] themselves. Take BAC — whenever there’s a social issue on campus with the black student body, we’re able to take care of those issues ourselves.”

Nartey and Bethany Peppers, associate coordinator of BAC, said they welcome responses to issues involving race on campus, but don’t like the approach being taken by USG. Peppers said a more beneficial tactic for USG would be for it to send representatives to BAC meetings.

Nartey is also concerned sending representatives to a committee would take away from his job, which is to report BAC needs to USG.

“For USG to be the ones in charge of all these social issues on campus … it’s kind of overbearing on them,” Nartey said. “I see it as there would be no need for having delegates or representatives in the senate.”

At the USG meeting Oct. 4, Weisenstein addressed concerns about the committee and said full discussions on diversity issues in senate meetings are not plausible while trying to reinforce the importance of senators’ roles.

“The allotted time we have in senate meetings is not enough time for these issues,” Weisenstein said. “This isn’t meant to take any power away from the senators, and I think that is extremely, extremely important to be transparent with you all about.”

Weisenstein has been vocal about letting USG senators and RSO groups help shape the committee.

“It is important for me to emphasize that this committee is forming,” Weisenstein said. “It is not formed and it is not un-moldable. Again, we do not have all the answers, which is important to you all in forming this committee.”

Staff writer Cory Ray can be reached at 618-536-3326, [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_DE.

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