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Editorial | Women’s representative to the Senate small answer to large problem

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 08:01

 

The decision by the TCU Senate to create a Women’s Center Representative position makes a vital and earnest attempt to alleviate misrepresentation in the Senate, but glosses over the larger problem: a fundamental misrepresentation of the campus in the elected body. The fact that this position is being created is just one piece of evidence in this. The gender balance among elected senators rests at an unsatisfactory 19 men to nine women, but the election of one person to represent a center that represents half the campus is as illogical as the election of one person to represent a sexual orientation, race or other group in totality.

This situation does not suggest a conscious opposition to better representation in the Senate. The widespread support for the establishment of this position in the Senate and on campus, backed by petition, points quite clearly otherwise. In reality, the problem is fundamental in the very basic way the Senate operates -— that is, in its electoral activities. Advertising for the opportunity to run for a vacant Senate seat, the simplest way to improve the number and diversity of people running for Senate, can generously be described as modest in scope. The Senate remains an inward-looking group, whose activities resemble more so those of a club than the open-source, accessible works of the community organization it should be emulating. More often than not, this could end up discouraging the participation of female students who see a rather unwelcoming environment and a small number of female senators.

The decision to create the new community representative position is a positive step, put simply, because it could add one more female voice to a body that does not necessarily promote the inclusion of all voices with the actions that it takes and the way that it operates. Whoever is chosen for the position will be able to put forward the opinions of one woman on campus while attempting to represent many. This is an admirable cause for everyone, but an unfortunately flawed one. One woman does not represent the multivariate experiences of all women on campus. The larger problem of structural obstacles to diversity in the Senate must be overcome by the Senate’s taking action greater than the creation of one position. The body should encourage the type of reforms in its operation that make running as feasible as possible.

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