The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government unanimously passed legislation to add cultural and minority seats to the Undergraduate Student Senate.
In addition to the current two multicultural seats, there will be five new seats for cultural centers and diversity groups as a whole, Priyanka Thakkar, incoming USG president, said.
“This will give a better linear passage for those voices to be heard,” Thakkar said. “This will make our senate more diverse and ensure perspectives for advocacy and activism.”
Omar Taweh, the USG public relations director, said these seats will be open to the entire student body, and will be filled by whoever can best represent the community’s seat.
“It’s different to have a seat than just telling other people what you want,” Taweh said. “We can make sure their voices are heard with voting power.”
The official titles of the positions are not yet decided, but they will range from “Black Seat” to “LGBTQ Seat” to “Disability Seat,” Taweh said.
“You should be a member of those marginalized communities to run for the position and you must be confirmed by the Senate,” Taweh said.
Taweh said members of USG met with the cultural centers last year to hear their concerns.
“We want to make sure their voices are adequately heard,” Taweh said.
While the Senate seats were unanimously voted for in USG, they must also be approved by the Board of Trustees at their next meeting in the fall.
“Once they are approved by the Board of Trustees, we will start to advertise the positions around campus and in the cultural centers,” Thakkar said.
Taweh said this is one way USG is working to fix the concerns of students.
“We hear the concerns of students and want to address them,” Taweh said. “This is what we’re doing to make sure people are happy with USG.”
Thakkar hopes these additional seats will help increase student voices in the center and on campus.
“This is one step to promote diversity and move towards the future,” Thakkar said. “It will hold students accountable and represent those who do not have a majority voice.”
Ashley Anglisano is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.