Student Senate Heats Up: Discourse Regarding Diversity Clubs Ensues

The 2018-19 Student Senate executive board. (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

The 2018-19 Student Senate executive board. (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

By Joseph Maguschak, Staff Writer

Those who attended October 22’s Student Senate meeting found themselves in the middle of a heated debate about the College’s sense of diversity and desire to create cohesion among different groups on campus. What began as just another agenda-following discussion about de-recognitions and budget requests, turned into an important dialogue that has senators and students thinking about what is really happening on their campus.

Agenda Items

  • The meeting began with the announcement of a prospective committee: the Greek Life Committee. This group of students would focus on the positive and negative aspects of Greek life. It would consist of four members of Greek organizations and four non-members.
  • The new College Union Building conference rooms are available to be reserved via 25Live; priority goes to Student Senate committees and then can be used as student study spaces.
  • Habitat for Humanity was de-recognized from Student Senate.
  • The following organizations have been recognized under Student Senate:
    • Hillel
    • Japanese Culture Club

Discussion on Diversity

After the Japanese Culture Club was recognized by Senate, a concern was voiced about a problem facing the College’s clubs/organizations that has to do with inclusion. Senator Jacob Marogi ’19 argued that several groups on campus meant to encourage diversity tend to stray from larger campus-wide inclusion, keeping their events and the like specifically tailored to themselves. Marogi believes that it is important to recognize and celebrate the similarities among the cultures and ethnic groups represented on campus and would like to see them encourage inclusion and work more closely together in planning events, speakers, etc.

Senator Ivana Lopez Espinosa ’19 disagreed, saying that although it is imperative to work together to achieve common goals and to encourage a friendly and respectful atmosphere, it is also necessary to celebrate what makes people different, which is not always a bad thing. Having a support system of people who are like you – whether it be regarding race, sexual orientation, political views, hobbies – is such a powerful way to become more in-tune with who you are and want to become. Just because some people do not need a certain club to feel included, loved, and needed does not mean that others do not. The reason for the existence of clubs in general is to encourage dialogue among people with common interests, goals, and characteristics, so there is inevitably going to be some difference when it comes to a club’s expression and ways of doing things. Yes, it important to promote cohesion, she argued, but it is as equally important to celebrate what makes people unique.

Budget Requests

After debate over this issue, three budget requests were discussed:

  • ROTC was allotted $840.45. ROTC’s color guard equipment is usually gained through joint effort with Dickinson College; however, with the money allotted by Senate, ROTC plans to purchase its own equipment. ROTC is continuing to grow substantially but receives no funding from the College.
  • Latin American Student Association was given $935.00 towards its annual dinner, which is expected to have well-over 200 attendees.
  • After much deliberation, Steminists was allotted $83.00 for its pumpkin/cookie decorating event.

Student Senate will reconvene on Monday, October 29.

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Author: Joe Maguschak

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