On Oct. 23, Senate hosted Nyree Gray, Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer, and guest Kate Vosberg, a staff member from 5C InterVarsity, for a discussion about the 5C InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Gray led this discussion in which she clarified that the College has a nondiscriminatory clause requiring that all students be allowed to join any club and disallowing discrimination on the “basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, class, marital status, or disability.” The concern was that the club was affiliated with the national organization that allegedly discriminates against the LGTBQIA community. However, according to Gray, the national organization does have LGBTQIA employees and 5C IV has had LGBTQIA students in leadership positions in the past. Gray asked that if students felt any kind of discrimination or if they have any problems to please contact her.
Gray, with comments from Vosberg, answered questions that students asked anonymously through a Google poll. One student asked, “What normative message does 5C IV send?” Vosberg explained that students and people involved in InterVarsity come from a variety of backgrounds with different beliefs. Membership in InterVarsity does not necessarily indicate a specific theological background. Another student raised the question of whether the organization supported conversion therapy, to which Vosberg replied that the publishing house, Intervarsity Press, publishes books across a wide spectrum and that she personally has not heard anyone push for or recommend conversion therapy in her 20 years of working with IV. Gray also pointed out that there was an apology released after the book was published and the College absolutely does not support conversion therapy. Additionally, it is illegal in California.
Clubs and Organizations Chair Chloe Amarilla ‘19 gave a presentation on why the CO Chair needs voting power within the Executive Board. Currently, there are 10 voting positions, and giving the CO Chair a vote would break the even number. Amarilla stated that the CO Chair controls 35.45% of student fees because around $111,000 go to clubs as they become a bigger part of campus culture. She also noted that the CO Chair has the highest discretionary fund among all positions besides the Senior Class President. There are 420 active students in only a third of the clubs on campus — a significant portion of the student body. Amarilla argued that a position with this much influence and control should have a vote on the Executive Board.
During committee updates, Consortium Affairs Chair Elijah Jackson ‘19 said the committee will be introducing the consortium inform — a weekly inform about 5C events, both for clubs and administrative events. Alumni Relations Committee Chair Kyleigh Mann ‘18 said they are working to improve the Career Services mentorship program. Administrative Affairs and Appropriations Committee Chair Connor Bloom ‘19 said there were no funding requests this week and will work to advertise funding so they receive more requests. Student Engagement Committee Chair Elliot Behling ‘19 said the committee is working to set up a Skim for Senate. Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Sam Becker ‘19 is working to reduce paper waste in the computer labs and mailroom. The committee is also working with Pitzer to host an event to quantify a number of waste students produce after each meal at the dining halls. Campus Improvement Committee Chair Biniyam Asnake ‘20 said the committee members made a survey about the heat issue in North Quad and encourage all North Quad residents to take the survey. They have also streamlined the ‘Contact Us’ page on the ASCMC website and changed the receiving email so students can send in any problems, questions, or concerns directly to the Campus Improvement Committee. Executive Vice President Patrick Elliott ‘19 also updated that the Hub will extend its hours on Thursdays to midnight.