Column: Second Semester Update
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Quite a bit has happened in campus news this past week. A student has disappeared, less than half of the student body voted in the UGBC presidential election, The Heights endorsed the winning candidate of that election, and I discovered that Father Neenan, special assistant to the president, reads my column.
I am very flattered that such a high-ranking administrator takes time out of what is surely a busy day to read and even respond to something I've written. Father Neenan has certainly given a boost to an ego that was already bursting at the seams. He also made a valid point that my last column could suggest that I think less privileged students are more inclined to theft and that only wealthy students are honest. I assure you that this is not the case. The honesty of the student body is likely the primary reason unattended computers aren't snatched up at a more alarming rate.
Congratulations to Chris and Kudzai on their win last week in the UGBC election. I hope you will continue the Kitlas-Long tradition of representing the needs of the student body. A member of the UGBC recently accused me—perhaps even for good reason—of being anti-UGBC. While I am very critical out of love for BC and our student body, I am not opposed to our student government. This year, I saw the UGBC make a genuine effort to involve more students and represent our needs to the administration.
Because the UGBC and the candidates for office have made such strides this year, I think it is time that apathetic members of the student body take some responsibility for student government not representing our needs as well as they should. The candidates were certainly visible enough over the past week and The Heights provided more than adequate coverage of the campaigns. With as many opportunities as there have been for students to become informed and involved, the shortcomings of the UGBC can no longer be placed solely on the shoulders of its members.
I've had the opportunity to read the GLBTQ Leadership Council's "Reaching New Heights" document, that outlines their plan to be more fully incorporated into the University and how the University can better serve all members of the student body. Mike Kitlas, UGBC president and A&S '12, presents this document to the Board of Trustees each time he meets with them, but the president and Board have been unreceptive to the document and some of its proposals.
Perhaps my new friend and fellow Midwesterner Father Neenan could help us make a bit more headway with the changes this document calls for. It is important that our institution respond to the needs of all its members, regardless of sexual orientation, especially considering the rising incidence of bullying of students with a (sometimes perceived) sexual orientation that "deviates" from "the norm." To keep with our Catholic values, we must embrace those who have been marginalized by our own "Christian" interpretations of love and sexuality. The least the University could do is acknowledge the document and begin to work towards understanding and appreciating the complete identity of all members of its student body.