For those who saw the announcement, Ryan McElhaney and Gideon Klionsky are suing the Elections Commission for prohibiting white students from participating in the election of the Racial Minority Senator and Racial Minority member of F-Board. Astonishingly, the Union Judiciary has agreed to hear the case against the Elections Commission.
This is problematic on so many levels. Whatever you feel about the position of the Racial Minority Senator the fact that the UJ, a body comprised of five white individuals, can dismantle the position without any input from the student body is outrageous. To make it worse, the parties most affected by the potential ruling, racial minority students, have absolutely no say in the process. The named respondent in the case is the Elections Commission, which probably doesn’t give a damn about the position to begin with. This case is subverting the Democratic process and allowing five white justices to decide the fate of representation of racial minority students.
The merits of the case are a different issue altogether. Any student can register, or even change their registration, with the University to ‘Other’ if they so please and can run for the position of Racial Minority Senator. Will a white person who runs for the position be judged and mocked? Yes, probably, and deservedly so, but they still have a legal outlet to pursue the position if they please.
In addition, having the position does not ‘discriminate’ against white students. It simply gives a spot on the Senate specifically for a community that has distinct needs. They might try to argue that racial minority students have unfair representation, but so do lots of other groups of people on campus. Ridgewood, for instance, is heavily over-represented in the Senate. There are just 150 people living in Ridgewood, and they have one Senator in the Senate. East, where 400 people live, also has just one Senator. No one is claiming this is discrimination against East quad residents.
But ultimately, that is unimportant. Maybe the position is outdated and needs to go. I’m not convinced that it is the best way to ensure minority voices are heard on campus. But I am positive that this UJ case is a sham. I don’t think Brandeis students will stand as an all white judiciary eliminates the representation of students of color. We need an open exchange, a democratic dialogue, about how to best represent minority voices, and this is not it.