At this week’s ASCMC meeting, the Executive Board focused on two key issues: whether CMC should host an Indian Wedding Party and whether ASCMC should raise student fees.
During last week’s meeting, ASCMC President Ben Tillotson ’15 proposed having an Indian Reception theme for the annual Wedding Party in the Spring, and one of the main concerns Board members raised was the possibility of cultural appropriation. At this week’s meeting, Tillotson invited members of CMC’s South Asian community to share their thoughts on hosting an Indian Wedding Party. CMC senior Anshu Shah ’15 expressed a strong interest in the idea. Aseem Chipalkatti ’15 also supported hosting an Indian Wedding Party, saying, “I think it’s a great idea. ASCMC is bringing a platform for South Asian culture to be brought into the mainstream.”
Junior Class President Ben Turner ’16 shared his concerns about the event, however, explaining, “I think an Indian Style Wedding Party would be really cool, but I think that evolving it in any way could be a disservice to the original event and the Indian culture.”
Tillotson noted that should ASCMC choose to host an Indian Reception for Wedding Party, “it would be up to students to dress in what they’d like; however, if you do want to dress in Indian attire, then there would be very clear instructions.”
Sanjana Rao ’15 proposed hosting workshops two weeks before the Wedding Party to help educate students on what is and isn’t appropriate. She noted, “The workshops would be a fun way to teach people how we dance, how we dress, and bring up questions people are afraid to ask and teach people what is culturally appropriate. There is certain attire which can be considered offensive, but the CMC Indian Association is very willing to help and we are definitely on board to help with logistics, decorations, and anything else.”
Despite these suggestions, ASCMC President Pro-Tempore Michael Irvine ’16 commented that, “no matter how many Forum articles or workshops we have, there is no way to make people act or dress appropriately.”
Shah noted that there are strong opinions in the South Asian community for and against an Indian Wedding Party, and she pointed out that most of the opposition to the party is from outside of the CMC community, explaining that the majority of South Asian CMC students have been supportive of having an Indian Wedding Party.
However, because the event is a 5C party and affects the South Asian community at large, this Wednesday, members of the 5C South Asian community will meet to confer on whether the party could create cultural appropriation issues.
Tillotson ended the discussion by asking members to keep two questions in mind: “Are we confident we will not run into issues of cultural appropriation? And will the Indian Reception concept enhance the event?”
The other main topic of discussion at this week’s meeting was whether ASCMC should raise student fees. Traditionally, student fees have risen about $10 every five years.
Presidential Advisor Moe Abdul-Rahim ’15 supported raising student fees. “With the added $13,000″ that could be brought in from the fees, he explained, “we can use that money to support causes that would make the campus better; for example, hiring more sexual assault speakers or whatever causes that are relevant to the current year.”
Senior Class President Abby Michaelsen ’15 agreed, adding, “I think it’s a good idea. By putting in $10 [more], you’re getting so much more out of it. If ASCMC has $13,000, students are going to get a lot of benefit from those ten dollars.”
Other members disagreed. Turner noted, “I don’t think it’s fair to ask students to pay more money. We are under-utilizing the resources we currently have, and we can run things better and use [the current] money better.”
Tillotson also opposed raising student fees, but for a different reason, “The Board of Trustees has raised tuition 1-2% every year, and in the near future the sticker price of CMC could be $70,000. And while $10 is not a significant amount on an individual level, the rising cost of education is a concern, and as students we should not play into this broader trend. There needs to be a lot of scrutiny if we are to raise student fees.” The Board has not decided whether it will ask the administration to raise student fees.