This week’s issue of the Oxy Weekly features an article titled “Honor Board reviews DEBI proposal, questions student body fee increase” by Wellesley Daniels and Drew Jaffe. The article states that “anonymous senators” who voted for DEBI feel they were pressured to vote for the initiative, mostly because they felt it was unfinished, there would be a $10 fee from each student to fund the board, and they were given only 24 hours to review the proposal.
CODE would like to point out several falsehoods and inaccuracies in the claims of these “anonymous senators.” The article fails to mention that during the senate meeting in which DEBI was voted on, 50+ students sat in a hot room for an hour and a half to hold their elected officials accountable for promises they had made while running for office that they would support a diversity-focused addition to the ASOC structure. To state that senators were unfairly pressured into voting is to ignore the senators’ role to serve the interests of the entire student body, including structurally marginalized students. The mass student support for DEBI during voting day evidences students’ commitment to holding their senators accountable. The article also fails to consider that the original proposal presented to senate featured a $7 student fee, which was contested by non-ASOC students at the meeting and pushed to $10 by the 50+ students.
Moreover, “anonymous senators” incorrectly state that they were given only 24 hours to review the proposal and provide comments. The finished proposal was accessible for an entire week prior to the meeting. Furthermore, the entire proposal was developed through weekly meetings which were open to all students, including senators. These “anonymous senators” had every opportunity to intervene in the development of the proposal, but simply did not put in the time or effort throughout the entire semester to voice their concerns until voting day. The entire process of creating DEBI has been completely transparent and accessible to the entire Oxy community to participate.
Another point of interest, the Sustainability Fund was in many ways a model for the structure of DEBI due its function as a branch of ASOC that charges a student fee. However, the Sustainability Fund did not have to be reviewed by Honor Board before being up to the student vote. This begs the question, why DEBI, the board the focuses on diversity, and why now?
Coalition @ Oxy for Diversity and Equity
via Dana Rust (senior)