Celina Osegeura / Mustang News

At the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors meeting May 31, a bill to amend the ASI bylaws and create a Social Justice and Equity standing committee was voted down.

According to College of Science and Mathematics representative for Board of Directors and statistics junior Gianna Ciaccio, hesitancies regarding the bill stemmed from the sheer novelty of this type of committee. Additionally, the formal process outlining the creation of a new standing committee within ASI requires that an ad hoc committee be formed, something ASI did not have.

Co-authored by Ciaccio, political science junior Chase Dean, business administration senior Hannah Poplack and political science junior Rita Elfarissi, the bill aimed to provide a more equitable and effective platform for underrepresented students on campus to talk about their experiences as minorities and discuss more ways to develop diversity and inclusivity.

“Movements toward equity on campus haven’t been consistent,and that’s not enough to solve any large issues,” Ciaccio said.

Ciaccio said the idea for the bill gained momentum during her work as Dean’s campaign manager during the ASI Presidential elections, where she spent time talking to students from a variety of backgrounds about their walks of life. She described the push for the bill as a “grassroots” pursuit.
Political science junior and Queer Student Union president Matt Klepfer initially brought the bill to the attention of the Board of Directors at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, but the measure did not come to fruition.

Unlike other ASI standing committees typically composed of voting ASI members, the Social Justice and Equity committee would have consisted of two co-chairs, one of whom is an active and elected member on the Board of Directors and the other a non-voting ASI member. The latter would be a representative from the Office of Inclusivity and Diversity, a cultural fraternity or the Cross-Cultural Center.

Ciaccio said this unique format would encourage more open communications between minorities and ASI, establishing a medium for compromise
and resolution.

Though the bill was met with reluctance and skepticism, Ciaccio and Elfarissi plan to further pursue this proposal in the next academic school year.

“I don’t think the conversation has to end here,” Ciaccio said.

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