Opinions, Editorials

For Full Diversity Coverage, Town Hall Necessary

At the presidential debate for the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) last night, candidates were questioned on the arts at Boston College, the role of student government, and mental health.

On March 30, a Diversity and Inclusion town hall will serve as another opportunity to hear candidates answer questions, this time directed entirely toward issues of diversity and inclusion. The inclusion of a separate town hall debate exclusively devoted to questions from the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), the Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD), the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC), and the Diversity and Inclusion Programming Board (DIP) came about due to the unexpectedly extended election season as well as the inclusion of six presidential teams in the initial debate. The last time the debates were separate was three years ago.

As Diversity and Inclusion is the largest subsection of UGBC and has the most programming and funding, it is important that its concerns are addressed. In a six-team, one-night debate, this would not have been feasible due to time restraints. Although the Elections Committee did ask some questions on Diversity and Inclusion issues, this separate town hall will allow every issue to be addressed specifically by each candidate in a way that otherwise would not have been possible.

It is uncertain whether this practice of holding a separate town hall will be continued in the future, due to the potential return to a normal 10-day election period, instead of this year’s three-week cycle. Each year, the decision regarding this separation should be based on the number of teams running. When six teams are running, it is nearly impossible to adequately represent the interests of Diversity and Inclusion in one debate. A separate town hall forum solves this problem and ensures that they can ask their questions.

On the other hand, when two or three teams are running, it is preferable to bring everything into one debate, including questions regarding Diversity and Inclusion. This is logistically possible due to the small amount of candidates and reduced amount of time in answering questions. By bringing everything into one in this situation, the Elections Committee would unify the multiple facets of UGBC.

The elections committee has made the right decision in having a Diversity and Inclusion town hall. In the future the Committee should remember this and base its decisions on how many teams are running while ensuring that Diversity and Inclusion is able to have its concerns adequately addressed.

March 21, 2016

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