MinCo discusses ACE, hears new officers’ platforms

Several important and contentious issues were discussed at the Minority Coalition’s (MinCo) weekly meeting last Tuesday. The first topic debated was the issue of MinCo representation in the newly created All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) body, which will consolidate the organization and funding of social events like parties, concerts and individual entertainment acts on campus.

The ACE proposal, which was effectively ratified when College Council (CC) voted and approved bylaws that allocate nearly $100,000 to ACE at its meeting on Wednesday (the College had already agreed to support the new structure), calls for an executive committee that coordinates the interactions between ACE’s four major planning subcommittees. The executive committee was initially composed of a president, a chief financial officer, a chief information officer, chairs of the four subcommittees, and representatives from MinCo, Frosh Council and CC.

At the MinCo meeting, Drew Newman ’04, Student Activities Council (SAC) Treasurer and key architect of the ACE proposal, explained that the elimination of the current situation, in which students wishing to plan events must go to several different organizations in order to secure funding and plan an event’s logistics, is inefficient and joyless, turning off many students who would otherwise be interested in planning campus social events. Furthermore, said Emily Steinhagen ’04, Log Committee chair, a significant fraction of social events are planned by a group of eight or nine people who are committed to social planning on campus. As a result, said Newman in the presentation, there is a significant lack of cultural and ideological diversity among the campus’s social planners.

Newman said that ACE’s structure would promote diversity within the social planning process because no application process exists – anyone interested in participating in the planning process is welcome to attend the meetings, and regular attendees are granted voting powers.

The main discussion, however, centered on MinCo representation on the ACE executive committee. The initial ACE plan called for the executive committee to ensure that the subcommittees developed programming that adhered to a coherent social calendar and as such gave voting powers to ACE officers and chairs. The MinCo, Frosh Council and CC reps were initially designed to act simply as liaison officers and facilitate the communication of ACE’s planning process to their respective organizations.

The creators of ACE, who included leaders from the current Student Activities Council (SAC) and other campus social organizations, initially did not wish to give organization representatives voting powers, wanting to maintain ACE’s autonomy as a social planning body. However, representatives for the many campus organizations that fall under the MinCo umbrella felt that withholding the vote from representatives from all major organizations, not just MinCo, would set a bad precedent.

“We didn’t want [ACE] to have any connections with political organizations,” explained C.J. Bak ’05, Frosh Council Treasurer, member of the ACE development group and Record business manager, in counterpoint. The debate continued for some time, but the issue was resolved on Wednesday when the ACE group met again with Rory Kramer ’03 and Rene Robinson ’02, MinCo’s co-chairs. The groups reached an agreement and decided to remove any references to executive committee voting rights from the constitution, which essentially makes all the members equal.

The next major issue discussed was the final ratification of the new MinCo constitution. After conducting extensive discussions and meetings throughout the academic year, MinCo has developed a new constitution that Kramer hopes will facilitate the organization’s efficacy as an umbrella structure for the campus’ many minority groups.

“What we did was enable MinCo to be a more effective and efficient advocate for minority concerns and also to hold its own programming to ease the burden on the groups and also to put together pan-MinCo type events,” said Kramer. “The funding structure, with more discussion and refinement over the course of the next year, should streamline the . . . hierarchies and system so as to be a more friendly and efficient manner of funding for the groups.”

The final vote on the constitution will take place at today’s 7:00 p.m. MinCo meeting in Jenness House.

The last item for the meeting was a presentation by candidates for the incoming MinCo officers. Since not all were present, a full forum could not take place. However, Shehru Qureshi ’04, who is running for the co-chair position along with Samara Poplack ’03, discussed his vision for making MinCo less insular.

“I think MinCo definitely needs to be going where it’s going,” he said, referring to the recent constitutional reforms. “There needs to be a pulling together of the community and airing out of a lot of tensions. We must have a drive to bring the MinCo community together.”

Qureshi also spoke about the necessity for MinCo to raise its profile on campus. “Someone needs to take a stance and say a sentence or two,” he said.

Kramer, who along with Robinson will leave office soon, reflected on his vision for the future of MinCo.“I want to see MinCo grow into an active support system and body for it constituent groups and their individual members,” he said.

“I think there are a lot of possibilities for innovative programming and advocacy that could really improve this campus’ awareness, understanding and general climate for minority concerns.Â

“I’m really excited for next year’s MinCo and look forward to watching it continue to improve and improve the campus as a whole.”

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