Just received this email via ASUO Multicultural Advocate Alexis White, via the infamous United States Student Association:
Currently the USSA Board of Directors is in violation of diversity guidelines. It is important that we respect these guidelines for reasons we all might or might not understand. The Board has not met the diversity guidelines stipulated in the Constitution, which require that 30% of the Board identify as openly queer. So there are opportunities for those that are interested in applying for the DREAMERS Caucus Chair or as a at large Board member.
This is very important and I am taking the diversity guidelines very seriously. When we set guidelines as a organization it is important that we all do our part to meet them. I have attached the documents via Google docs underneath. Please consider applying to the positions and/or forward to anyone you know that might be interested.
The question arises: does one need to identify directly with a specific group of people to advocate on their behalf? I have a good friend — a white friend — who recently started work with the NAACP. She advocates on behalf of a population she is NOT a part of and — SURPRISE — does a pretty damn good job. It is certainly possible for individuals outside a certain demographic to advocate for those in that demographic. Maybe this is why the ASUO has been without a Non-Traditional Student Advocate for so long. Maybe if the student government understood that traditional students can advocate on behalf of non-traditional students, the non-trads might be better off.
Additionally, where did the 30% figure come from? Why not 20%, or 10%, a figure closer to the general makeup of the out-and-queer population of the United States? It’s likely an arbitrary number that a few students in a room (traveling on the student dime) came up with and decided they needed to fulfill, to maintain a commitment to diversity, or something. Personally, I’d prefer competent students serving on USSA boards regardless of sexual orientation than limiting the open positions to a very specific demographic, thus creating a smaller pool of applicants and a likely less competent supply of board members. But that’s just me.
This brings up another good point. How gay do you have to be to be a member? Is there some sort of gay-o-meter? What if you make out with a girl at a party, does that count? Do you have to date your girlfriend/boyfriend for a specific amount of time in order to be considered? Oh, but I digress.
The United States Student Association (and also the Oregon Student Association) have long faced criticism from the Oregon Commentator for wasting student money on conferences so people can discuss various pieces of legislation and continue to “advocate for students.” Bigger pieces of that tasty financial pie go to board members. Why not open that up to all members of the student populace? Isn’t that the point of the United States Student Association, to advocate on behalf of all students? Then let all students apply to be on student boards, regardless of skin color / sexual orientation / breakfast food preference. Maybe USSA could ACTUALLY serve students instead of taking student money and hiding it away at a retreat site in Seattle.
Please upload your governing documents in a format that has a file extension, so interested parties can open them.