About 35 students from across campus attended an impromptu meeting Friday night to discuss and brainstorm solutions for what they deemed Intercom’s “structural” flaws.
NAACP president Gabrielle McBay organized the meeting, which included numerous students groups, including Intercom, the Black Student Association, the Multi-Cultural Greek Council and the Involved Service Network. Antonio Pee, Tom Brown Pete Wright hall director, facilitated much of the discussion.
While plans are tentative, a demonstration to raise awareness about Intercom and portray the student body in its entirety, is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Campus Commons, McBay said.
Friday’s meeting was prompted by Student Body President Brent Folan’s decision to eliminate one of the two Intercom seats held by Inclusiveness & Intercultural Services. Intercom members discussed the matter Thursday night, but deferred making a decision. The group is set to meet again in two weeks.
Conversation Friday night centered around what the group deemed as “structural” inadequacies and a lack of bylaws in Intercom, an 11-member board made up of student representatives that functions as a think tank.
The group developed three goals: to spread awareness of Intercom’s existence, to advocate equal representation on the board and to continue dialogue with students who feel underrepresented.
Students suggested a variety of solutions for Intercom, including reforming its structure, adding more seats, transforming Intercom to “town-hall” style meetings and spreading power within the group.
Although the majority of students who attended the meeting were racial minorities, McBay said the group should be mindful of all minorities, such as transfer and LGBTQ students.
“This is not a race issue,” McBay said. “It’s about power and access, and who has that power.”
Likewise, current IIS Intercom representative Marisol Sigala reminded the group not to “finger point” SGA as being against their ideals.
While the various students hoped to reform Intercom, members acknowledged the process would take time.
“Democracy is a slow beast,” said Jordan Mazurek, the former Intercom member whose seat was eliminated, and co-founder of the Council of Student Leaders. “It took [Intercom] six weeks to come up with the student creed. Dialogue takes time."
Pearce Edwards, current Honors College representative on Intercom, encouraged the group to continue dialogue with SGA.
Edwards said he believed Folan might not understand what “inclusive” looks like for Intercom representation, but would be willing to listen to the group.
Edwards and other students emphasized the importance of remembering the sensitive “humanity” of the issues at hand.
"I have faith and trust in leaders on both sides of the issue,” Edwards said.