By Queen Alexander, Health Sciences major
There is no room for debate on whether or not students of color on Boise State campus feel safe; the answer is evident. NO! When faced with the issue of marginalized students feeling unsafe on campus, admin, faculty and staff and even other students use their experience of privilege to essentially make a mockery of the fact that this is even a possibility. It is as though people who make up the majority, who come from a position of privilege, who have had the fortune to never have experienced discrimination, assume they can speak on behalf of those who are different, those who have been judged with one look, and those who are affected by systemic racism. It’s almost like they don’t understand that just because someone is unharmed, and their physical being is fine, doesn’t mean they feel safe. This lack of mental, physical, emotional and psychological safety stems from years of rooted institutionalized distrust between admin, campus leaders and student groups on campus. This makes it challenging to put trust into a system and people who continuously prove that you shouldn’t.
There have been a number of students who have come together to create a safe haven within student government so that marginalized students have a seat at the table, and to ensure that issues we deem relevant are not pushed under the rug as they have been thus far. We took it upon ourselves to create a position within ASBSU that deals specifically with marginalized students on campus and, more importantly, a council that the position would report to in order to ensure accountability. We are calling this position VPIE, which stands for Vice President of Inclusive Excellence. When we introduced our idea to the Associated Students of Boise State University on February 8th, we were assured by current ASBSU staff that this position and council was something they were willing to fund and support so long as the Vice President and President elected for next year wanted the position and supported it as well. Support is defined as: give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act; a few synonyms are assist, help, aid, endorse and sustain. The definition and synonyms of support are extremely significant as we embark on our journey with ASBSU and its representatives.
It seems as though Boise State’s precious Associated Student Body Government is trying to perform a coup; take our idea and claim it as their own in order to try and give the impression that this is something they’ve taken the initiative to do for the good of underrepresented students.