Resolution regarding Student Union’s lack of resolve

Whereas, on February 10, Student Union Senate supported the formation of the Diversity Affairs Council (DAC) by a vote of 22-2-1;

Whereas, on February 16, Student Union Treasury voted 7-6-1 for the DAC, failing to reach the needed two-thirds majority of members present for approval;

Whereas, the Treasury approved each individual component of the legislation but not the legislation as a whole;

Whereas, this episode shows that either Senate or Treasury misunderstood the legislation it was considering;

Whereas, students deserve to be involved in and informed of significant campus initiatives; and therefore be it

Resolved, that the student body is confused by or mostly unaware of the push for a DAC; and be it further

Resolved, that Senate and Treasury need to get on the same page; and be it further

Resolved, that SU has not sufficiently and widely publicized the plan for a DAC; and be it further

Resolved, that SU needs to explain clearly the purpose and responsibilities of the DAC; and be it further

Resolved, that SU should hold an open forum regarding the DAC to allow students to learn more and to provide feedback; and be it further

Resolved, that while the DAC may be a good idea, it must be more than a superficial SU initiative; and be it further

Resolved, that SU must demonstrate what the DAC will accomplish that current student groups cannot; and be it further

Resolved, that SU must demonstrate how the DAC will improve current diversity initiatives and increase diversity within the Wash. U. community.

Editorial Board
Student Life

  • GO AWAY

    People should really stop letting chase sackett speak.

  • michelle

    doesnt going to one of the roundtables prove that the publicity worked?

  • student

    umm. this editorial was spot on.

    there’s a difference between publicity and MEANINGFUL/GOOD publicity; believe me, i went to one of the roundtables.

  • michelle

    This doesnt even make sense. I am a member of Connect 4, this wasnt student Union’s initiative! Student Union didnt work to get 900 signatures, Student Union didnt talk to over 1000 students about the petitions. It is our blood sweat and tears that has created the DAC.

    The fact that it didnt pass is treasury’s fault. Not Senates!

    “Resolved, that SU needs to explain clearly the purpose and responsibilities of the DAC; and be it further

    Resolved, that SU should hold an open forum regarding the DAC to allow students to learn more and to provide feedback; and be it further”

    This is not even accurate. we did host forums and got feedback throughout the process. there were 13 drafts!

    Studlife Editors please contact a member of Connect 4 before you write an inaccurate editorial about our work.

  • The apathetic student who got the publicity

    Can I just ask the editorial board, how is SU supposed to better publicize an initiative than the DAC publicity? I don’t pay close attention to resolutions passed by SU, nor did I fully understand the DAC at the time, but it was in all-school emails, online, and PRINTED IN STUDLIFE ARTICLES. Seriously, are you guys just miffed because SU doesn’t PAY YOU to publish ads anymore? Find a new revenue stream. I mean, all I had to do was go to su.wustl.edu and read their blog and I knew what was going on.

  • michael

    The DAC was proposed by Students NOT SU. And there were multiple open forums and presentation sponsored by Connect 4 and Senate.
    The publicity for this initiative was all over campus. I got at least 3 emails a day about it from De or Student Union. There was facebook events and groups.

    Also it was not Student Unions responsibility to prove why the DAC couldnt be a student group, it was the DAC members. This article is confusing and places on the blame on SU, when in reality it is Connect 4’s fault for not being more clear about their purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chase.sackett Chase Sackett

    There are a lot of points to address here; I’m not going to try a write a resolution (though I could give you some tips on how to format that in the future).

    1) I think it’s clear that everyone who’s been involved with the Diversity Affairs Council proposal was disappointed with Treasury’s decision. However, that doesn’t mean we’re not on the “same page”; Senate and Treasury are different bodies and we’re bound to disagree on some issues because there are different people in the bodies. If 7 members of Treasury didn’t see it the same way as 22 members of Senate, then that’s just how it is. The student body will have the chance to vote on the legislation next week on the ballot.
    2) Speaking of that, it’s incredibly hypocritical that Student Life published Monday’s editorial celebrating Trevor Mattea’s proposed changes and then bashes the DAC, when there were two huge, publicized meetings about the issue in Senate and Treasury (and if you didn’t see the publicity you’re not reading your emails or talking to anyone involved or accepting Facebook invites, and in that case there’s nothing we can do). In comparison to the other amendment submitted, this has received far more publicity and discussion. If you want more info, look here: http://su.wustl.edu/blog/explaining-the-diversity-affairs-council-ballot-proposal
    3) You should know better than to talk about SU as a corporate entity. There are so many different people (and positions) involved that asking SU as a body to provide an explanation is silly. Moreover, since the effort has shifted to the constitutional amendment, it’s become a grassroots effort in support of the amendment as opposed to anything on behalf of SU as a whole.
    4) Again, attending the forums in Senate, Treasury, or Connect 4’s Roundtable would have helped explain what the difference between the DAC and a student group is. There’s a longer explanation in the link above, but in brief being an intrinsic part of SU will allow the DAC much better access to student groups for the programming, policy, and training focuses it’ll have; provide a direct link to Senate for policy recommendations; allow the VP Programming to advise the group on programming/scheduling issues; and represent an institutionalized effort in SU to addressing issues of diversity. Senate, for instance, has worked with numerous student groups this year, but being a part of SU will make it much easier for the DAC to connect students with senators to change policy on campus.

    Also, I don’t believe any of the editorial board bothered to contact anyone involved with the DAC proposal for this editorial, though I understand you met in length with Trevor before Monday’s in support of his legislation. Why the difference?

    Chase Sackett
    Speaker of the Senate

  • Neehar Garg

    Whereas, I am a 3-year Treasury Representative;

    Whereas, I STRONGLY disagree with Treasury’s decision to not pass the DAC;

    Whereas, I’d nonetheless point out that one body not passing something while another does doesn’t indicate misunderstanding;

    Whereas, Treasury and Senate not agreeing on something isn’t some sort of damnation upon us all, but rather demonstrates really obviously the rationale behind requiring TWO bodies to pass something to make it a statute;

    Whereas, passing it section by section was a cosmetic procedure designed only to avoid nit-picky edits and was unrelated to Treasury’s overall approval of the measure;

    Whereas, I have watched StudLife misrepresent facts without seeking a 30-second clarification on countless occasions over the past 4 years;

    Whereas, StudLife didn’t bother asking anyone about that mechanism, yet criticizes blindly;

    Whereas, I’m annoyed by this, but thoroughly unsurprised, considering how often it’s done;

    Whereas, StudLife’s only representative to Treasury admitted after the meeting to not having paid attention closely what was going on, yet, again, no attempt at clarification was made by the editorial staff after the fact;

    Whereas, it is exceedingly douche-y to write anything in this format, especially if done incorrectly;

    BE it resolved that StudLife’s editorial page appears staffed by people continually unwilling to actually look into their criticisms before publishing them.

    Neehar Garg

  • Concerned Absentee Voter

    This editorial does indeed bring up a good point about SU and the DAC, however, I believe that the editorial board needs to start being realistic. Treasury indeed failed the DAC on the whole after approving each individual part; however, upon looking at the entire piece of legislation, Treasury noted something that Senate never did: that the legislation added to the bureaucracy of SU in a way that entities like StudLife continue to fight.

    Perhaps the way that Treasury went about this vote was less than stellar: it was clearly a waste of time to argue grammar and then vote the entire legislation down. However, it would be much simpler if other bodies of SU would start being realistic as well. Senate has become a rubber stamp: if you have an issue that sounds moderately politically correct, Senate is happy to ‘resolve’ it for you. Unfortunately, these resolutions hold little meaning unless action is taken. Action needs support. And support can only come through publicity.

    This leads me to the main issue with the DAC legislation: Nobody understood its purpose. Here is the DAC’s purpose, according to the minutes of the Senate meeting on 2/10:

    “Working with the CDC, other groups, policy recommendations, meet regularly with CCDI and faculty, centralize groups communications, coordinate cohesive diversity training, no
    programming, monitoring the campus climate (get a video survey of their perspectives of diversity), Rapid action group”

    I would argue that the description above is great reason to assume that the DAC would just add to the bureaucracy of SU. Of course, this is likely not the case–rather the DAC needed to do a better job of explaining their purpose. However, like Mamatha said, such publicity and explanation is impossible at WashU where the only people who actually care about the DAC and any other SU initiative are those creating said initiative, those in SU who need to approve it, and those in StudLife who seem to live in an alternate reality where the students actually care.

  • student2

    “Resolved, that SU needs to explain clearly the purpose and responsibilities of the DAC; and be it further”
    – SU could not clearly explain the purpose of the responsibilities because the people who were purposing the legislation ( Connect 4 members) could barely explain the purpose of the DAC. There were more than 10 drafts that changed the defining document of the DAC.

    “Resolved, that SU should hold an open forum regarding the DAC to allow students to learn more and to provide feedback; and be it further”
    – There were multiple open forums for students to attend regarding the DAC. With current members of SU and Connect 4 present. This forum was hosted by the DAC potential members and concerns were brought up. And If I recall correctly, there was an oped piece, at lead 20 emails from De and it was on the SU website and emails.

    “Resolved, that while the DAC may be a good idea, it must be more than a superficial SU initiative; and be it further”
    – this is not a superficial SU initiative. This is an initiative brought and put together by students! Connect 4 and other members of the student body worked diligently over break to put together the legislation. While there were various senators and execs involved, the majority of the students that purposed this initiative were not apart of SU.

    Resolved, that SU must demonstrate what the DAC will accomplish that current student groups cannot; and be it further
    – This was the main concern of treasury. As a member of the student body who supports the DAC, it is not SU’s responsibility to show it’s worth. That is the whole point of it being a student led discussion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mamathachalla Mamatha Challa

    Even though I’m an SU Senator, I can’t lie- I lol’d. :P

    In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Senate and Treasury disagreeing on something means that one of the two bodies is misunderstanding a piece of legislation. After all, they are two separate bodies, consisting of different representatives that vote in different ways.

    It’s incorrect to say that the DAC hasn’t been advertised to the student body. In fact, it was probably advertised as well as anything could be advertised to a slightly apathetic campus. There were actually many open sessions where people could learn more about the DAC. Some of these sessions were run by Connect 4 and the Multicultural Roundtable, and Senate even had a presentation about it (which, as always, is followed by a discussion forum and is open to anyone.)

    Regardless, I do understand many of the main points that this article brings up. The legislation that was brought up about the DAC was primarily to create it. From what I know, most of the actual details are going to come in the constitution they write up for the group. I, like the Editorial Board, am very interested in seeing these details, but from what it looks like, these details won’t be entirely put together until the legislation for the creation of the DAC is passed in the first place.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing up these questions in a format that is clever enough to draw in readers. Hopefully, it will help instigate some more productive and constructive debate!