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Elections Committee, Diversity Inclusion Discuss Debate Reform for UGBC Presidential Race

The Elections Committee has been working to modify the procedure for creating the questions for the Undergraduate Government of Boston College’s presidential debate.

In past years, the questions were drafted by the Elections Committee, the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), the GLTBQ Leadership Council (GLC), and anonymous students.

After concerns were raised last week by the presidential campaign of Elizabeth Foley, MCAS ‘17, and Joseph McCarthy’s, CSOM’17, the Elections Committee decided to look further into the debate procedure. Foley and McCarthy were concerned with UGBC’s involvement within the elections, as ALC and GLC are subsects of the organization. Their team believes UGBC’s involvement is a conflict of interest if candidates were associated with the organization prior to the election.

“We definitely understand the concerns on both sides.”

-Rachel Mills, co-chair of the Elections Committee and MCAS ’16


The Elections Committee met Thursday night to discuss possible reforms. The Committee voted to modify the procedure to limit ALC’s and GLC’s involvement with the drafting of the questions. With the reform, the Elections Committee would consult ALC and GLC on topics having to do with diversity on campus, but the Committee would have the sole responsibility of drafting the questions for debate. ALC and GLC would also educate the Elections Committee on the proper terminology to use when posing debate questions.  

“We definitely understand the concerns on both sides,” Rachel Mills, co-chair of the Elections Committee and MCAS ’16, said. “ALC and GLC issues on campus are a big deal and we don’t want to cut them out completely. But [we] also understand that them being a part of UGBC could be a conflict of interest.”

The Committee decided to void Thursday’s vote, however, as there was no discussion with Diversity Inclusion prior to making a decision.

At the meeting, eight of the 15 members of the Elections Committee were present. All eight originally voted unanimously to make the change in procedure, as they found UGBC’s involvement with the drafting process to be a conflict of interest.

The Elections Committee, however, did not meet with Afua Laast, LSOE ’16, and James Kale, LSOE ’16, the heads of ALC, or Nick Minieri, the chair of GLC and CSOM ’16, before coming to a decision, Minieri said. Laast, Kale, and Minieri emailed the Committee on Thursday morning hoping to meet to discuss the issue before the vote on Thursday night, Minieri said. ALC and GLC had not been in contact with Foley, McCarthy, or any member of their campaign team either, he said.

After the vote was cast, Minieri came into contact with the Office of Student Involvement, which heads the Elections Committee. OSI confirmed that there was still time to reach a new decision. Mills then spoke with OSI, and it decided to ignore the vote until further discussion could take place between the Elections Committee, ALC, and GLC.

Diversity Inclusion is planning to meet with the chairs of the Elections Committee and its graduate advisor next week to discuss changes to the debate.

The Elections Committee sees the change as an opportunity to reach out to other groups on campus and diversify the questions even further, co-chair of the Elections Committee Rachel Mills said.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor

February 14, 2016

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