Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) introduced a proposal on Wednesday to hold a referendum to add a multicultural representative as a voting member of BSG. The position was discussed last spring, but not put into a proposal until now.

BSG’s Executive Committee—comprised of President Danny Mejia-Cruz ’16, Vice President for Student Government Affairs Michelle Kruk ’16, and five other vice presidents—recommended the proposal to the committee and the small crowd of students who attended the meeting to support the proposal.

“[The fact that BSG] itself is composed of a diverse set of students does not mean that those students speak on behalf of whatever individual race they look like they are or sexuality that they belong to. It’s just not right and I think that we’re making the right move,” said Mejia-Cruz. “We cannot ask people to serve as something just because of the way they look or the way diversity is perceived.”

Currently, BSG has representatives from the Inter-House Council (IHC), the Athletics Council, the McKeen Center and the Entertainment Board who “serve as advocates of special interest groups on campus,” according to the proposal.

The referendum question would be whether or not the BSG constitution should add a multicultural representative to its specified list of representatives.

Special interest group representatives are not elected by the student body as a whole but are elected or chosen by the group they represent, like the Multicultural Coalition.

BSG will vote on December 2 to decide whether or not to hold a school-wide referendum. If that proposal is approved by a four-fifths majority of BSG, the student body would vote on the referendum from December 9-12. One-third of the student body would need to vote on the referendum for it to be valid and two-thirds of voting students would need to vote in favor for the multicultural representative position to be created.

Mejia-Cruz noted the significance of the proposal and the consequences of a referendum and urged BSG members to campaign aggressively assuming the proposal goes to the student body, explaining that a striking down of the amendment could be a symbolic blow to the embrace of diversity and inclusivity.

“I think a sufficient amount of campaigning will be done, but we will get it,” said Mejia-Cruz.

In light of the recent security concerns, BSG unanimously agreed to request greater availability of shuttle services and increased lighting at the college houses.

Jacob Russell ’17, IHC representative, cited the sexual assault that took place on November 10 at Mayflower Apartments and an incident on November 17 where a student was grabbed from behind near Union Street and Potter street as reason for the requested increases in security.

In response to the continuing questions from Justin Pearson ’17 on the constitutionality of the appointment and subsequent internal election of Emily Serwer ’16 as Vice President for Student Organizations, BSG approved a change to the bylaws in order to “codify” the actions it took.

Pearson disagreed, claiming that the proposal does not codify actions and that the bylaw change is in fact unconstitutional and would have to go to the student body as a referendum.
BSG approved the change, though it requires a second vote at its next meeting in order for the bylaw change to be official.