MUSG signs statement against hate crimes


Photo by Claire Gallagher

Former MUSG president Meredith Gillespie signed statement.

Former Marquette University Student Government President and senior in the College of Arts & Sciences Meredith Gillespie signed a statement against hate crimes by the Jesuit Student Government Alliance March 14.

The statement was released as a collective agreement to “recognize and condemn the trend of prejudice and discrimination that still extends across our campuses,” the statement said. It also offers steps and initiatives all institutions should take.

The organization’s statement said “identifying and reacting to only the most prominent examples of bias cannot fully deconstruct the attitudes that encourage them. It is far past time that each of our institutions takes comprehensive and impactful steps to build more equitable communities, and we are committed to addressing the normalization of prejudice in collaboration with our respective administrations.”

JSGA is a formal association of all sitting undergraduate student government presidents of Jesuit institutions, according to its website. The alliance is made up of 28 Jesuit colleges across the country. The groups offer advice to one another to help better schools and communities of Jesuit schools, according to its website. The group, which was founded in 2018, was created as a type of network for student government presidents to talk with one another to create the best experience for students at their schools.

“The decision to sign onto the joint JSGA statement was made by the entire Executive Board of MUSG,” Gillespie said. “We thought it was powerful that all the Jesuit schools were signing onto this joint statement standing against hate crimes and bias-related incidents, and wanted to show our dedication to preventing these incidents in the future.”

The mission of the JSGA is to “cultivate students to their fullest potential, embodying the Jesuit mission and ideals,” according to its website.

Sara Manjee, a junior in the College of Business Administration and current president of MUSG, expressed her support of the statement that Gillespie signed.

“I think it’s really important that we are recognizing and validating the experiences of students who have experienced hate crimes and bias-related incidents. I think there’s power in all of our Jesuit institutions coming together and collectively recognizing and condemning them,” Manjee said. “Also in doing that, we’re at the JSGA proposing different steps and initiatives that every single Jesuit institution should take on, so incidents don’t happen again. It’s one thing to say we recognize you and we condemn the trend that’s happening but it’s another to take these steps so it doesn’t happen again.”

Gillespie and the other student government presidents created the JSGA to help improve the communication between their organizations which, in turn, would offer support, ideas and initiatives with one another.

Gillespie helped create JSGA when she took part in the annual National Jesuit Student Leadership conference this summer.  Gillespie talked about the importance of the JSGA to Marquette and to its students.

“We noticed that upper-level administrators had a lot of contact through the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and were able to share ideas and initiatives, which was really productive for their own universities,” Gillespie said. “A lot of the student body presidents just so happened to go to the National Jesuit Student Leadership conference over the summer. We noticed a lack of communication between all the colleges on a student level.”

Gillespie and the other student government presidents created the JSGA to help improve the communication between them which, in turn, would offer support, ideas and initiatives with one another.

Dan Brophy, executive vice president of MUSG and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said how important it is for Marquette to be involved in the network.

“It just gives us a resource network, so it’s something we can reach out with to see what other universities are doing. To that sense, it means we can hear directly from our peers at other institutions to hear what they’re doing. Also, it gives us points for collaboration,” Brophy said.

Gillespie also talked about the impact that the JSGA can have on the students of Marquette.

“If there are other services that student governments are pushing on other campuses that are benefiting their student body, it’s super important for us to know that so we can start those initiatives at our school,” Gillespie said. “It kind of can give us a blueprint for what our student government can be doing and that is a massive, positive impact on our student body.”