The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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A difference of opinion on the amendment

 A difference of opinion on the amendment
A difference of opinion on the amendment

A difference of opinion on the amendment

The Daily Campus has received many takes on this election’s controversial amendment regarding Special Interest seats. The following page is a mixture of opinions on the amendment. The following piece is based on an informational sheet members of the minority communities passed out this week. The Daily Campus approached the Young Conservatives of Texas, vocal opponents of the amendment, to give their take on the amendment. The following piece gives insight into why the minority communities opposed the amendment and why the Young Conservatives of Texas are for the amendment.

What is the amendment?

The amendment will allow any SMU student, regardless of race, to run for any one of the racially set-aside seats in the Student Senate.

Why are the Young Conservatives of Texas for this amendment?

YCT: The Young Conservatives of Texas are against all race-based policies. We believe that this amendment will go a long way towards establishing a realm where SMU students of all races have equal opportunity to run for the particular Student Senate seat they want to run for. It must not be forgotten that only students of certain ethnic backgrounds can vote for their respective Student Senate seats. Minority students will still be able to choose who represents them by simply voting.

However, we believe that the democratic process should not include mandated racism. Therefore, it is wrong to say that only a black person can adequately represent African-American students, and only an Hispanic can adequately represent Hispanics, etc. We believe it is racist to assume that ethnic minorities can not occupy Student Senate seats without special treatment in the form of racial set-asides. YCT also believes that it is destructive and self-defeating for certain student minority groups to claim they represent all students of their respective ethnic backgrounds. We note that a lot of minorities disagree with mandated racism in the form of racial set-asides.

Because we believe racial set-asides to be racist in nature, we don’t believe that this amendment is the final stop towards establishing a race-neutral Student Senate. Even if the amendment passes, which we are confident that it will, the voting stipulations will still allow for special treatment based on race. We think most people would agree with us when we say that we eventually want to wipe these seats clean of race and open them completely to everyone for running and voting purposes.

Why is the minority community against this amendment?

Minority Community: We generally agree that this amendment is a good step towards equality; however, we are united in opposition to this amendment, because we do not believe that the SMU community is ready to take this step. The reason why we feel this way is becuase of recent events involving individuals who seek to make a mockery of these seats and deride the spirit in which the seats, as well as the amendment, were originally created.

Why do “special interest” seats even exist for minorities?

YCT: “Special Interest” seats were set aside to mandate that a few certain ethnic minority groups would have representation in the Student Senate. However, YCT believes it is racist to assume that ethnic minorities can not occupy Student Senate seats without special treatment in the form of racially set-aside (or “special interest”) seats. We believe it is digressive, self-defeating and racially divisive for certain minority student organizations to think they can adequately represented only through racial set-asides in the Student Senate.

On the contrary, YCT believes that students of all races are capable of winning election to the Student Senate without help via special treatment.

Minority Community: The seats exist to represent the voice of minorities on campus in the most important student organizations on campus — the Student Senate. The seats were put into place decades ago to ensure that the voice of minorities would be adequately represented in the Senate body. In the past, Student Senate positions were highly coveted by hundreds of individuals on campus, and because of this fact, the relatively small minority community on campus has historically been unable to get minorities elected. The Student Body many years ago founded these seats to ensure that the minority voice would always be heard in the Senate chamber.

But, I heard that the community still retains control over the seats because only they can vote for the seats — what do you have to say about that?

Minority Community: Again, we simply do not believe the SMU community is ready to take this step; therefore, despite the fact we retain de facto control of the seats, we are still against the amendment. We do not believe this amendment is in the best interest for our community at this time because of the mockery that we will allow to enter each and every election involving our seats if the amendment were to pass.

YCT: As we stated above, it must be noted that only students of certain ethnic backgrounds can vote for their respective Student Senate seats. Minority students will still be able to choose who represents them by simply voting. If certain minority organizations do not like particular candidates for their respective seats, they can choose to vote for another candidate. If certain minority organizations were truly serious about who represents them in the Student Senate, they would nominate more candidates for these “Special Interest” seats. As it is there is only one candidate running for the African-American and Asian-American seats, and no candidates are running for International Senator.

Well, just because my skin color doesn’t match yours — shouldn’t I have the right to represent you if I can?

Minority Community: Yes, we believe you should, and we welcome all individuals who seek to both understand our varied cultures and become active members of our communities. There are people of all colors, from white to black, that are members and leaders of our student groups, and it is because of these individuals that we initally believed in this amendment. However, with the events of the past week, we have discovered that there are individuals in this community who desire to make a mockery of these seats by using them for their own self-aggrandizement. As soon as the rumor of this amendment entered the student body, individuals in our community, who never once set foot in the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs or our student organizations, decided that running for these seats would be a good way to advance their own selfish motives. At that moment, this amendment ceased to be a posititve step for our community and became a negative focal pont that other individuals would abuse to further their own aims -— and this is why we are now united against this amendment

YCT: Absolutely! YCT believes that people of all races and can represent people of all races. Equality can only be achieved once we as a society stop viewing skin color as a defining characteristic.

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