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The buffoonery that is college student government

Ah, college student governments.

Perhaps nowhere else in American life will you find anti-Martin Luther King Jr.-ish resolutions calling for racially segregated campus housing and race-based elections, or the labeling of Israel’s 1948 founding as an “occupation,” or the panning of a pro-capitalism club because it’s “against humanity,” or where numerous representatives “pick up their ball and go home” because they didn’t get their way.

A perfect encapsulation of this sort of ballyhoo comes via the happenings at the University of California-Long Beach Associated Students Inc. meeting last week.

A resolution regarding white supremacy ended up getting “stuck” in the ASI senate because some members claimed it wasn’t “proactive” enough … that it  only defines what “white supremacy” is.

For example, Senator Camryn Hohneker said “The resolution talks about what will happen when white supremacy continues to belong[?] on campus but not what we will do to prevent it.”

The student publication The Daily 49er notes the ASI senate has “tried to prevent hate speech in the past.” Of course, one may wonder just how “hate speech” is defined, let alone how its prevention can be enforced given UCLB is a public institution.

Nonetheless, resolution authors Thulani Ngazimbi and Leen Almahdi took issue with Hohneker, noting their measure had provisions to make “marginalized students feel safe” and for “increased ally training.”

And then the fun really began:

ASI President, Sofia Musman, questioned if the resolution should directly address white supremacy or be revised to assess all oppressors.

“When we say that ASI stands against white supremacy, that’s powerful,” said Almahdi, health and human services senator. “By saying we are against white supremacy and other forms of oppression makes the resolution weaker. White supremacy is the root cause of many oppressions.”

College of liberal arts senator Quentin Pestner argued that the title of the resolution should include more than white supremacy because his identity of being queer has been affected by many races.

“As a queer man, I should not be discluded from this conversation,” Pestner said. “I have faced discrimination not just from white people but from every ethnicity for being queer.”

Senator Ian Macdonald said the resolution should be passed because the senate had been “sitting on th[e] issue” for — wait for it! — a year and a half.

Macdonald’s unintentionally hilarious concluding statement sums up all this drivel perfectly: “We need to get this through the senate so our students know that we can be decisive.”

MORE: Student government shuts down for emergency diversity training

MORE: Student gov: Gendered terms like ‘brotherhood’ = ‘textual discrimination’

IMAGE: David/Flickr

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About the Author
Assistant Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over a decade, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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