Disclosure: The content of this editorial is based on my personal opinion and is not a statement on behalf of the Wellesley Honor Code Council.
CG Election Season can be a stressful and anxious time for the candidates running for College Government Cabinet positions. Every spring, as students put their best foot forward and opt to serve the Wellesley Community through their desired role, they form platforms and campaigns focused on the issues and policies most central to their objectives. Perhaps the most common platform during these campaigns is diversity. Without fail, diversity is almost always a main focus of many campaigns—regardless of the position being sought. Diversity is an important and essential aspect of our everyday lives as Wellesley students as so many of us are from different racial, financial and geographical backgrounds. I think that recognizing and incorporating diversity as a key focus in a platform is a notable stance when done genuinely and with real purpose.
This year, I serve as the ALANA Representative of the Honor Code Council, a position with the mission of increasing awareness about the challenges and circumstances that might affect students of color. As the ALANA Representative, I do my best to advocate for the voices of these students, whose perspectives might otherwise go unheard in our weekly discussions and more importantly, on hearings. However, I do not believe that it is solely the responsibility of the ALANA Representative to be considerate and cognizant about the unique viewpoints and experiences of students of color. Being on the Honor Code Council calls for inclusivity, open mindedness and willingness to put yourself in the shoes of other students in order to understand their perspective. Regardless of ethnic background, it is essential that members of the Honor Code Council embody these qualities and are capable of considering implicit or underlying conflicts that might pertain to certain circumstances.
Recognizing that the Honor Code Council could benefit from having more members who vary in their financial and racial backgrounds and in hopes of creating a Council that more accurately reflects the Wellesley population, fellow Honor Council Member Estela Hernandez ’16 and myself initiated a diversity outreach project. Our project has the goal of targeting multicultural organizations and their presidents in order to increase applicants from minority backgrounds. This project was established earlier this semester and has allowed us to collaborate with several multicultural orgs on campus. Our hope is that with the help the new Chief Justice—who should have a sincere interest in promoting inclusivity and diversity on the council—we will have ample applicants from various backgrounds who will provide valuable insight.
As someone working diligently to get more representation for minorities on this campus, I appreciate the acknowledgement that there is a need for more inclusive policies. However, I strongly believe that candidates who campaign with a platform in which diversity is a main component should have genuine intentions. It seems to me as though candidates are simply incorporating the word “diversity” on their platforms without real interest or intent to follow through on their proposals in order to gain the votes of minorities. If a candidate is as invested in the well being of diverse groups on this campus as they claim to be, and already has a role in which they could make an effective change, it is reasonable to expect that they have already taken steps to achieve their objectives in this area. Otherwise, it is not practical to expect action in the future. Using diversity as a buzzword is not only misleading but also disrespectful as it makes light of the very real concerns and challenges that many students on campus face.
As a member of the Honor Code Council, I see a great necessity for a Chief Justice who is well informed and encourages the Council to be thoughtful and socially conscious while deliberating Honor Code policies and sitting on hearings. I have truly enjoyed my year on the Honor Code Council as Mayanka Kumar, the current Chief Justice, embodies all of the above while effortlessly leading us with reason, wisdom, fairness and a notable passion for understanding. My hope is that the next Chief Justice will have a natural desire to uphold the values of the Honor Code while being aware of the obstacles that some students experience.