In its meeting on Wednesday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed, though did not vote on, a proposal to adopt a BSG representative for Multicultural Student Programs.

The proposal, put forward by At-Large Representative Kiki Nakamura-Koyama ’17 and Vice President for Student Government Affairs Charlotte McLaughry ’15, would add a multicultural representative, chosen by Multicultural Student Programs, to serve on BSG. 

About 40 students from various groups gathered in support of the proposition at Nakamura-Koyama’s invitation.

“If we look at the General Assembly, we are clearly a diverse group,” Nakamura-Koyama said during the meeting. “However, there isn’t a space or time for us to discuss race or our minority status. I think that’s really critical, especially if we look at the lack of recognition of the [Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner] protests around campus that involved a great amount of students. It was left undiscussed [by BSG].”

The proposal explains why the position is necessary, noting that although one third of the student body is of color, “students of minority races, sexualities, religions and gender have been underrepresented on campus and BSG.”

The proposal envisioned that “this representative will contribute positively to increasing the voice and discussion of underrepresented groups,” suggesting that “BSG and [Multicultural Student Programs] will both benefit from a liaison in order to improve the communication between and programming of both institutions.”

BSG President Chris Breen ’15 announced at the end of the discussion that proposals like these take multiple meetings to pass through. Because the school year is coming to a close and elections have already passed, this proposal will most likely be pushed off until next year.

“I was disappointed for sure the vote didn’t happen today,” Nakamura-Koyama said. “I’m confident that this chair is going to get put through next year with Danny [Mejia-Cruz ’16] and Michelle Kruk ’16, because both of them are very passionate about multicultural affairs.”

Mejia-Cruz will serve as BSG president next year, and Kruk will be vice president for BSG affairs.

During the meeting, the proposal and ensuing discussion was met with occasional snaps and comments from the supporting students and questions from BSG members, most of whom were careful to state they were not against the position.

In the past, special interest representatives, including ones from the Department of Athletics and the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, have had poor attendance records.

One of BSG members’ biggest concerns was how one person could represent all the minority groups listed in the proposal— which mentions race, sexuality, religion and gender.

Nakamura-Koyama said that it was possible for one person to represent all types of minorities without identifying with all minority groups.

Two members of the coalition attended the meeting and spoke to the coalition’s growing strength, a strength in which Nakamura-Koyama voiced her confidence.

“Dean [Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Leana] Amaez told me they’d probably host an election within the students of color throughout the multicultural coalition,” Nakamura-Koyama said. “All of them would work on a person to come and represent the multicultural chair.”

Throughout the discussion, many BSG members continued to state they supported this addition and only wondered what specific role this representative would play.

“I think a lot of students would look at that and understand that there’s somebody representing them and so they would be able to voice their concerns to that person,” Nakamura-Koyama. “Where as now, there’s no one where people might feel comfortable voicing their concerns.”

Nakamura-Koyama said that this position would provide a specific outlet for multicultural discussions. The representative would help design No Hate November programming and respond to events like the Ferguson and Garner protests tha took place last semester.

“What I think is most important is that [the representative] is going to be able to talk about [his or her] identity as a minority on campus,” Nakamura-Koyama said. “That’s really crucial because I’ve seen that it’s been passed off so many times. I especially see this after the Ferguson and Garner rulings and there were protests all over campus… It was clearly a student issue yet BSG didn’t say anything about it.”

For now, the issue remains suspended until the start of next year.