The entire executive board of the American University College Democrats resigned after complaints were lodged about its lack of diversity.
According to The Eagle, the board is comprised of the group president, vice president, chief of staff, treasurer, communications director, director of activism, social chair … and director of diversity, equity and inclusion(!).
All offered statements regarding why they stepped down.
Now-former president Rhett Martino wrote that “BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] voices must be amplified in leadership, and that must start from the top.”
In a Facebook post, group interim executive director Jeremy T.C. Ward said the CD seeks to not only be one that “talks about diversity, equity, and inclusion,” but that “fosters an environment where these words are present in every capacity of the organization.”
In a separate FB statement, now-former VP Christopher Bastida said the organization has “flounder[ed] in its responsibility to be diverse, equitable, and inclusive.” Given the “overtly racist climate that is our campus” and “lackluster response” from some of the exec board, Bastida added he had “no hope for the future” as the CD was constituted.
Zuby Chowdhury, who lost the club’s presidential election to Martino, complained that when she became a College Democrats campaign fellow, she was “exposed to the toxicity” of the group by having to do “demeaning” fundraising research.
Interestingly, of the eight now-former exec board members, three are students of color. This percentage mirrors AU’s racial demographics.
Diamond Terrell, who served as AU College Democrats’ vice president from May to September 2019, said in a message to The Eagle that, as the only Black woman on the board at that time, she was constantly faced with tone policing, condescension and disrespect. She resigned from the role when she realized that the “organization was past the point of reform.”
“Despite my calls for changing the organization from within, there was no direct action; it has all been performative,” Terrell wrote. “Historically, the organization has made little to no effort to diversify their ranks beyond white feminists, lacking intersectionality at every turn.”
Terrell added that she hoped students would recognize the flaws in the group, instead of supporting it for its past partnerships with Black student organizations.
In May, the College Democrats demanded that AU cut ties with Customs and Border Protection; unfortunately, even this progressive maneuver wasn’t enough to save the exec board.