Dickinson Community voted last week to add the position of a vice president for multicultural affairs (VPMA) to its executive board, joining Mountainview and Newing in offering the position.
Historically, the position has existed only in the Student Association (SA), promoting an inclusive campus community and helping ensure that minority voices are represented in the SA. VPMAs of residential communities would be tasked with helping to solve issues related to diversity and awareness in their specific communities.
A bill requiring community executive boards to create a VPMA position was proposed at a Student Congress meeting last month. But a provision in the legislation, in which a community’s constitution wouldn’t be approved without a VPMA position, caused the bill to be tabled indefinitely.
The letter-of-intent period for the position lasts until Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. Currently, Khaleel James, an undeclared freshman, is the only resident to have submitted a letter for VPMA of the Dickinson Town Council (DTC.)
“This position is new and I believe it should be taken very serious so that it can continue to be there for the representation of the multicultural people on campus,” James wrote in his letter.
All candidates will give speeches on Nov. 28, and the voting period will last from Friday, Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. to Sunday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m.
Griffin Mayhew, executive vice president of DTC and a senior majoring in history, said DTC plans to continue advertising the new position to community residents.
“We are going to be having hall ambassadors knocking on doors; we’re having flyers going around, hammering emails out,” Mayhew said. “We are really going to keep this up until we can get a solid group of people to apply for the position.”
Emily Lubin, the president of DTC and a sophomore double-majoring in psychology and Spanish, said she believes adding the VPMA position will have both a symbolic meaning and an important practical purpose for the community.
“We definitely need a VPMA to promote the multicultural community, to promote multicultural community events and to get people involved,” Lubin said. “Also, just to be there as a support for people who might not be comfortable or not even have a voice at all.”
Lubin said executive boards across campus were left with important choices after racist drawings were found in Endicott, Digman and Onondaga halls last month, and said she plans to have responses to similar issues directed by the VPMA.
“We were really struggling about what to do,” Lubin said. “We were not prepared, and with the VPMA, someone can definitely help.”
More community councils might follow DTC’s example. Sydney Maiman, academic vice president for the College-in-the-Woods Council and a sophomore majoring in political science, said other community executive boards are also hoping to add a VPMA position.
“This position will allow for students to have a representative in their hall government working solely to honor our shared value of inclusivity,” Maiman said.
Yasha Parawar, an undeclared freshman, said she thinks the position is helpful to minority students.
“I feel like a community like this without a lot of diversity could benefit because the minorities in this community could feel like they are underrepresented,” Parawar said. “I feel like a VPMA could give them a voice.”
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