SG approves resolution supporting student-led efforts to combat racism, sexism

The Student Government Assembly voted 24–1–1 in favor of a resolution, AR 6, which supports all student-led efforts to raise awareness and stop the repetition of racism and sexism at UT.

Several representatives voiced concerns about the resolution’s suggested pamphlet, which would include examples of previous instances of racism or sexism at the University and would be distributed to students in cultural diversity-flagged courses. But co-author and government senior Bryan Davis said the resolution is intended to focus on all student-led efforts that raise awareness of discrimination on campus.

“A lot of people in the African-American community are watching Student Government right now,” Davis said. “There is a sentiment that Student Government does not care about issues that are facing us as a demographic. I want that to be known that a lot of eyes are on us as an institution, and a lot of people are hoping SG does pass this resolution tonight.”

Evan Barber, economics sophomore and member of the Society of Cultural Unity, said this resolution is important to educate students about culturally sensitive topics.

“We need to make sure our students know what’s culturally sensitive,” Barber said. “Many students around campus don’t know that what they’re doing is offensive.”

Since the pamphlet has not yet been finalized or approved, a handful of representatives opposed the resolution. Dylan Adkins, business representative and business freshman, asked whether having a pamphlet would alienate certain organizations, such as fraternities or spirit groups.

“I don’t want alienation of any organizations on any standard,” Adkins said.

Lizeth Urialdes, ethnic studies junior and co-author of the resolution, emphasized that the pamphlet is simply a draft.

“It’s going to change consistently through the higher levels,” Urialdes said. “[We want to] make sure that we see it through and hope to maintain consistency or positive change that the message is going to be taken the way we want it to. The point is to find a way to end sexism and racism on campus. You are doomed to repeat history if you don’t know what history is.”

The members of the Assembly also voiced their concern in ensuring SG’s involvement in the pamphlet’s creation. Barber clarified that the purpose of the bill was to show SG’s support for combating racism.     

“SG, by passing this legislation, will be saying we like the idea of students combating racism,” Barber said. “You would not be passing a specific pamphlet. You would be saying it’s a good idea to have a pamphlet. If a pamphlet comes about saying fraternities are terrible places, that’s not what we’re trying to do. But SG also has nothing to do with that pamphlet. We like the vague idea of students combating this. … You guys are promoting the idea that something should happen.”