A.S. OKs diversity commissioner

The A.S. Council voted to amend its constitution and establish a new elected position, the commissioner of diversity affairs, in an open roll-call vote last week.

Three of the five college councils must now approve the legislation before the constitution is amended. A.S. President Jeff Dodge and A.S. Vice President Internal Jenn Brown will present the proposal to the college councils beginning Nov. 15.

If adopted by three college councils, the new commissioner will report to the A.S. Council on the state of diversity affairs at UCSD. Responsibilities of the position also include providing support to diversity-related organizations, polling UCSD students to assess concerns regarding diversity on campus, and appointing representatives to committees pertaining to issues of diversity.

The proposal was authored by Dodge, Brown and A.S. Vice President External Dylan de Kervor.

The commissioner of diversity affairs will be the sixth commissioner on the A.S. Council. Commissioners are members of the cabinet and do not vote in the Senate.

This would be the first new commissioner added to the A.S. Council since at least the 1980s, said A.S. Secretary Anna Mason.

De Kervor said that the Unity slate included the idea for the position of commissioner of diversity affairs in its platform during elections in spring. The entire A.S. cabinet and over half the Senate ran on the Unity slate. De Kervor said she feels the position will be beneficial to the campus.

“”We felt that it is important to have some sort of institutionalized voice for those communities who don’t feel like their interests are being represented by the leadership on this campus,”” de Kervor said.

Dodge said that many offices within the A.S. Council already have programs devoted to promoting diversity, and that the new office of commissioner of diversity affairs would manage such programs.

“”Right now we have a very fragmented approach to diversity issues,”” Dodge said. “”This idea comes from wanting to centralize the action so that we can actively create change and progress, and increase our diversity. It’s going to prioritize diversity as a council concern.””

If the proposal passes the college councils, the A.S. Council will accept applications for the position and the A.S. president will appoint someone to serve until elections in the spring. Dodge said the new commissioner will not be appointed until winter quarter.

The proposal passed with a vote of 19-0-1. One senator abstained.

The commissioner of diversity affairs will support and assist programs like the Student Affirmative Action Coalition, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Office, the A.S. Women’s Commission, the Hate Free Campus Campaign, the UCSD Cultural Celebration and the Cross-Cultural Center.

De Kervor said the new position is not the whole solution to UCSD’s lack of diversity.

“”It’s not enough, but it’s a step forward,”” she said.

The A.S. Council opened the vote on another constitutional amendment Wednesday night. This one, if passed, will establish a seventh commissioner: the commissioner of athletics. Senators must submit their votes by Friday. If passed by the council, this legislation will be taken to the college councils at the same time as the commissioner of diversity affairs legislation.

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