USG discusses efforts to ensure Honor Committee, Committee on Discipline reflect campus demographics| May 14, 2017
The Undergraduate Student Government discussed appointments to the Undergraduate Honor Committee and Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline in their meeting on May 12.
Academics Chair Patrick Flanigan '18 presented the five nominees for the Committee on Discipline, and Honor Committee Chair Carolyn Liziewski '18 presented the six nominees for the Honor Committee. The nominees included both existing members up for reappointment, as well as new nominees who were selected in the most recent application cycle.
Director of Communications David Lopera '19 inquired as to what steps the Honor Committee was taking to ensure the committee's membership reflected the demographic diversity on campus.
Liziewski acknowledged the issue, stating that current efforts were focused on applicant outreach to various student group listservs and the residential colleges.
"We are not unaware of the fact that, barring elected representation, we are not as diverse as we could be, and that the diversity of our current committee does not reflect the breakdown of diversity on this campus," Liziewski said. "[This] is something we hope to counter during our recruitment efforts, so that we can see pools of students who are representative."
Liziewski later indicated that the Committee's outreach efforts had been successful at improving applicant diversity. However, she also added that the most recent application pool included applicants to both the Committee on Discipline, as well as the Honor Committee. She said she was also interested in seeing if the outreach efforts would have the same effects in the fall Honor Committee-exclusive application cycle.
Flanigan attested to the effectiveness of outreach efforts, citing a member of the Committee on Discipline who stated that he had heard about the position through the Latinx listserv.
Class Senator Andrew Ma '19 questioned the source of Liziewski's claim of a more diverse applicant pool, citing the Honor Committee's refusal to collect demographic information on members. In response, Liziewski asserted the legitimacy of her claim.
"I think it's based on student involvement on campus," she said. "Students tell us what organizations they are a part of in their application, so if you see someone who is a part of Latinos y Amigos, they're Latino right?" Liziewski asserted that one can tell when the applicant pools are diverse and when they're not.
"You know when you interview 17 white kids and when you don't, to be entirely frank," she explained. "I suppose if you want to return to this discussion of asking students to self-identify so that we can have hard and fast statistics about the diversity of these pools, then we can reopen that conversation. But I think anyone who was in the room this time who’s been in the room during past application cycles can just see that the room is more diverse than it otherwise is,” Liziewski said.
Flanigan added that of the six new nominees to both Committees, four self-identified as persons of color. He also underscored that when considering this cycle's applicant pool, it was important to note that most of the applicant pool applied to the Committee on Discipline, rather than the Honor Committee.
U-Council ExCom Chair Miranda Rosen '18 suggested creating a position in the Honor Committee specifically to address membership diversity.
"Instead of everyone having to do all of these things at the same time," said Rosen. "I was wondering if we would have more progress if this was someone's sole job."
Liziewski responded favorably to Rosen's suggestion, stating that the Honor Committee would consider it internally.
Following a lengthy executive session, the Senate voted to approve all nominees.
Class Senator Eli Schechner ‘18 presented an amendment to the charter of the University Student Life Committee. The amendment was predicated on a report issued by the USG Referendum Response Team last month.
Most notably, the amendment establishes a Subcommittee on Eating Club Relations. According to the charter, the purpose of the subcommittee would be to, "collaborate with the [Interclub Council] and relevant communities on campus to identify key issues, implement initiatives, and pursue programming and other opportunities related to eating clubs."
The amendment also necessitates the addition of an Eating Club liaison. The liaison would interface with the Interclub Council, the individual eating clubs, and the USG, as well as serve as a voting member on the Subcommittee on Eating Club Relations.
The Senate voted to approve the amendment.
Student Groups Recognition Committee Chair Aaron Sobel '19 presented five new student groups for Senate approval. The groups presented included Princeton Empower, a group committed to helping members improve the way they manage their personal finances, and the Princeton Ethiopian and Eritrean Students Association, a group planning to connect people who are of Ethiopian or Eritrean descent or who are interested in Ethiopian or Eritrean culture.
All of the proposed groups were approved by a Senate vote.
The meeting also included an internal election for U-Council ExCom representatives. Of the three candidates, two were elected: U-Council Chair Pooja Patel '18 and U-Council ExCom Chair Miranda Rosen '18.