Phi Beta Cons

Student representation: It’s about how, not who

At Gonzaga University, where I’m a senior senator, there’s a debate over whether or not to set aside a senate seat for minorities.


Now, I share the reasonable concern that we as a senate should fairly represent the student body. I imagine this is the rationale for setting aside, or creating, this “diversity” position. I also respect those of different races–so much so, in fact, that I think they deserve the political privilege of being treated just like everyone else. If they want to run, then by all means, run. Will they win? I think it’s unfair to the student body to presume they will not.


Some contend that, because a decidedly low percentage of the study body is of a diverse background, they have no “voice.” But is this true? We have an official, University-run, diversity office. We have senators and a student administrative body, all of whom are not white supremacists, but in fact are open and always willing to hear student concerns. To argue that minorities are barred from the political scene is nonsense.


But the main point is this: Trying to “make up” for an ostensible lack of representation cheats the very system of representation. The point of democracy is to let voters decide whom they want to represent them–without dictating a race-based model that conforms to some notion of fairness.


The Latest