Student gov leaders resign to 'make space' for minorities

Alex Ose and Josh Crow resigned their student government positions at the University of Connecticut "to make space for BIPOC."

The former USG president said that he needed to use his "privilege to be able to elevate and give other students a voice."

The president and vice president of the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government resigned from their positions due to anti-racist concerns. Before President Josh Crow and Vice President Alexandra Ose resigned, the USG faced backlash for not making the organization welcoming to communities of color. 

The USG had faced criticism for an Instagram post that encouraged students to fill out a survey to report on their experiences with discrimination at UConn. 

Black at UConn, an Instagram page used to anonymously submit complaints about the university, promoted the survey.

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The post stated, “it’s interesting how y’all always claim to care about diversity but your Black and Latinx members are often talked over, looked past, and not valued. It’s interesting how an almost all white senate passed legislation that allowed the executive branch members to be compensated for their duties, but when the first executive board to be allowed to get compensated was majority Black and people of color, they were constantly being questioned.”

In response to the feedback of their survey and concerns brought forth by Black at UConn, the USG held two town halls to discuss alleged racism within the organization. During these town halls, students agreed that the organization could combat racism by putting students of color into USG leadership positions. 

At these same events, Ose and Crow were criticized for electing a primarily white executive board to the USG. They claimed that this may have been the result of “unchecked implicit bias,” and they planned to fix this by giving students of color a more prominent role in the organization. 

After the first town hall, both Ose and Crow resigned. Ose stepped down from vice president so that her position would be given to a more diverse individual.

Ose told UConn’s campus news outlet, The Daily Campus, “this decision has not been an easy one, but due to the climate and incidents of racial injustice across the country and at the university, I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position to make space for BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) voices to truly rise and be heard. It is my responsibility to make space, not to create an echo.”

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Ose encouraged other USG members to consider resigning from their positions as well to ensure that “they are making space for the voices that need to be heard right now.”

Crow followed Ose’s lead and also issued his resignation as president a few days later. Crow said that it is his responsibility to step down “to ensure that marginalized groups have the platforms they need.”

The USG and UConn did not reply to Campus Reform’s requests for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey