Student gov member resigns over 'complicity' with conservatives
- A member of Lafayette College's student government recently resigned because it included "conservative students" in a report on "inclusive dialogue."
- Student Jovanté Anderson claimed that the report inappropriately represented conservatives as "marginalized" on a campus that "is struggling to rebound from its historic, problematic, and deeply conservative values.”
A student government official recently resigned from his post due to the inclusion of “conservative students” in a discussion on “inclusive dialogue.”
Lafayette College’s Intercultural Affairs Chair Jovanté Anderson, one of five student officials who chose to resign before the student government’s first meeting, announced his resignation via Facebook, saying it was was necessary to hold “student government accountable for the ways it failed students of color.”
In his resignation letter, Anderson revealed that he was “overwhelmingly uncomfortable” with the student government’s “complicity in a politics that has portrayed conservative students as marginalized on a campus where students of color, women, queer and trans people have actively become more politically organized.”
Of particular concern to Anderson was the governing body’s inclusion of anonymous testimony from conservative students in an Ad Hoc Committee on Ensuring Inclusive Dialogue’s 2017 report, which contained testimony from conservatives who felt their voices were unwelcome at the predominantly left-wing institution.
While he noted that his “concern was never necessarily about the formation of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Ensuring Inclusive Dialogue” [emphasis in the original], he attacked the committee’s racial and gender makeup, even suggesting that its actions were “on the spectrum of white supremacy.”
Additionally, he accused the committee of selecting students of color who “have been spoken of” as not sufficiently engaged with “communities of color on campus,” urging his peers to push the boundaries of “a liberal identity politics.”
He goes on to add that emphasizing ideological identity is “destructive” and distracts from more important types of identity, declaring that “conservative students are NOT marginalized,” but simply “de-centered on a campus that is struggling to rebound from its historic, problematic, and deeply conservative values.”
Anderson then asks his readers to consider “how dangerous and violent it is to equate the marginalization of students of color (or other groups) to conservative students who ‘feel’ marginalized,” attacking the “problematic notion” that student government should be “apolitical or neutral.”
Anderson concludes by noting that rather than participating in a student government that he believes is flawed, he will instead focus his efforts on working with liberal groups such as “ABC, LACSA, Nia, the new Accountability and Transformation Board, etc, etc.”
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