This Sunday, the ASCMC Executive Board met following a mandatory meeting for all prospective candidates for ASCMC office next year. Candidates will give speeches at snack on Monday, February 25, and elections will be held on Tuesday, February 26.
During the board members’ updates, RA Representative Ari Davis ’13 explained that the process of electing dorm presidents has been disorganized and unclear. Voting procedures varied by dorm because some RAs used an online voting system to elect a new dorm president, while others opted for a traditional vote because of confusion related to the online method. Davis also expressed a concern that had been voiced at the RAs’ meeting that the inappropriate nature of recent Party Inform emails make ASCMC appear unprofessional.
Student Security Director Alexander de Avila ’13 announced that he has drafted a seven-page constitution for the organization in order to clarify its operating procedures and reinforce its legitimacy on campus. Once the document is finalized, Avila hopes all Student Security officers will swear an oath to the constitution, just as ASCMC officers swear an oath to the ASCMC constitution.
At the February 3 Executive Board meeting, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) President Emily Jovais proposed a joint effort with ASCMC to create a poster campaign on CMC’s campus to raise awareness about sexual assault at the 5Cs. Some members of the Board voiced concerns about the attitude of the approach and the nature of the posters SAS proposed. As of this Sunday’s meeting, SLC Mohammad Abdulrahim ’15 is set to meet with Jovais to discuss the project further and consider how to best implement it.
Finally, during Open Forum, the Board voted to approve the constitutional amendment drafted by the Committee on Technology and Elections (CoTE) to allow the use of social media in campaigns for ASCMC office. The Board also approved two requests for funding brought forth by Campus Organizations Chair Aseem Chipalkatti ’15; the Board allocated $500 to the a cappella group Mood Swing for costs related to producing a CD and $650 to the Asian Pacific American Mentor Program (APAM) to increase its mentorship activities.
Monday’s Senate meeting began with a presentation by representatives from the Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA) regarding last semester’s proposed TNC theme, “Colonial Bros, Pilgrims and Navajos.” ISA reached out to the ASCMC Executive Board and Senate due to its concern that the CMC student body viewed the racial implications of the theme as innocuous and lighthearted.
The students from ISA explained that sexualizing Native American women by emphasizing the sound “ho” at the end of “Navajo” is particularly unacceptable given the fact that Native American women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as other women. Through Senate, they hoped to define a procedure to clarify the decision-making process behind party themes and create accountability for offensive themes when they arise.
While ISA emphasized that racial insensitivity of this sort is an issue at all colleges across the country, they suggested that, given the controversy that followed the TNC theme, CMC could become a leader at the 5Cs by implementing a policy to ensure that party themes remain politically correct going forward.
Feedback from senators was varied; most recognized the inappropriate nature of the “Navajos” theme, but many felt that imposing a consortium-wide policy regulating this would not be the best solution.
One senator described prevention of offensive themes as “a matter of common sense” and remarked that there hasn’t been a preponderance of instances like this in the past. Another argued that the fact that CMC students voted against the “Navajos” theme when it was presented shows that there is an awareness and a sensitivity to these issues within the student body.
The overall consensus reached in the discussion was that education and discussion are the most fruitful ways to address issues like this going forward. ISA plans to begin working in this direction by hosting a 5C forum about concerns of racial sensitivity, and it requested that any feedback be directed to [email protected].
Following the discussion led by ISA, the Senate held a formal vote that approved the CoTE constitutional amendment on social media in ASCMC elections. Senate also approved three funding requests from students, including $1,850 to CMC Model United Nations for its upcoming McKennaMUN high school conference, and $50 to the Senate Campus Life Committee for a pilot program to place laundry baskets in the laundry rooms of two dorms as a way to address backlogs with loads of laundry.