Westmont doesn't need a Diversity and Inclusion Senator
Views 21 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Grant Gardner
As a select few of you may know, the Westmont College Student Association (WCSA) recently pushed forward an amendment creating a new position called the “Diversity and Inclusion Senator.” This position was created to give a voice within WCSA to minority groups on campus, but while diversity is certainly something worth pursuing on campus, pushing this new role emphasizes the current lack of effectiveness within WCSA to perform their duties.
According to Westmont’s website, WCSA is “the elected body that serves as the voice of the student body.” Based on their own description, these students are elected to serve ALL members of the Westmont community and ensure they are represented fairly. If that is the purpose of WCSA, why is there a need for a Diversity and Inclusion Senator? There are two possible answers: Either they are failing at their jobs and not representing everyone equally, or the addition of this position is meaningless.
The amendment itself was strategically crafted to sneak in the new senator position and banked on most students not reading far enough to understand what their vote went towards. It tied together two new items: Chief of Staff, a much needed addition, and the Diversity and Inclusion Senator. WCSA made it impossible to vote just for Chief of Staff, which ruins the integrity of the election results. The fact that WCSA was able to craft a singular amendment to create two new positions is an abuse of power. The only reason they manipulated the vote like this was they did not believe it would pass on its own.
Before this new role was created, WCSA should have been responsible enough to produce evidence validating the need for a new senator, including information on how many students it would impact through specific actions. Instead, they intentionally disseminated vague information that left more questions than answers. The job description cited no examples of why a new senator was needed or any details on how they would provide a better voice to minorities than the current Executive Council does. This has led to more student fee dollars going to a job that by all accounts is unnecessary, instead of going to any other club or organization, which are significantly more important. WCSA also failed to publish the vote results, simply stating the amendment passed “by an overwhelming majority.” At a minimum, the vote counts should be disclosed.
The amendment also contained a unique caveat in order to preserve the Diversity and Inclusion Senator position beyond this current WCSA group. By adding it to the ballot for Executive Council roles in the spring election, a new senator will be voted in for the 2018-2019 year. This means if the next WCSA administration wants to repeal this unnecessary amendment, they can put it to a vote immediately, but it will not go into effect until fall of 2019. This kind of maneuvering is yet another example of the ridiculous politicking within WCSA this year.
My final instance of this politicking is the WCSA letter regarding Charlottesville. Not only is this irrelevant to anything WCSA does, but it is incredibly biased. The message of condemning hate is great and should be applauded, but if specific events are going to cited, they must include ALL types, not just those that do not align with one’s personal beliefs. Therefore, if WCSA insists on condemning white supremacists, they should also condemn Antifa and other violent leftist groups.
In case it has been forgotten by this year’s elected student government, Westmont is a small, Christian, liberal arts school with 1200 students. It is not a national news network or website. Therefore, pushing an agenda that does not lead to enhanced benefits for the Westmont student body is an abuse of power and harmful to the college. So far, this has come in the form of the addition of the Diversity and Inclusion Senator position, as well as a letter condemning Charlottesville. Perhaps an amendment prohibiting uncontested elections should be passed. WCSA, return to your roots: serving the student body. End the politicking and do your job.