MUSG, BSC, LASO leaders removed from offices

Students of color held a demonstration at the original New Student Convocation Aug. 25.

Photo by Lily Werner

Students of color held a demonstration at the original New Student Convocation Aug. 25.

Student leaders from organizations such as Marquette University Student Government, Black Student Council and Latin American Student Organization will be forced to step down from their leadership offices after their involvement in a demonstration last August at the New Student Convocation.

Student demonstrators called for more support for students of color on campus, citing staffing and resource deficits. Marquette’s administration rescheduled the convocation, saying that it could not continue while the students demonstrated. As a result of their involvement, the students are facing various disciplinary actions from the university such as fines, community service and must develop an educational program on the university demonstration policy.

The university’s disciplinary procedure has been questioned following the proceedings and some campus community members are calling for the students’ immediate reinstatement.

The students appealed the decision, but their appeals were denied.

Marquette has said that the students involved were directed to the student code of conduct process and that the university cannot comment specifically on the matter due to student confidentiality.

“The student conduct process is separate from student organization leadership policies. It is a longstanding policy outlined in Marquette’s student organization guidelines that the officers of all student organizations, as well as the elected and appointed senators and officials of MUSG, must be in good standing (not on academic or disciplinary probation) at the time of their election or appointment and throughout their terms of office,” the university said in a statement.

Following the news, some members of campus feel that the university has made a mistake in its ruling. Max Hernandez, a senior in the College of Engineering and member of LASO, said the student leaders spoke up for issues concerning their communities and were punished for it.

“The whole reason why this was done was for lack of resources in the minority community,” Hernandez said. “We had some questions, and we still haven’t had the answers from Marquette. Since we didn’t have the answers, a lot of our student leaders decided to try and get those answers and they were punished for trying to look for them.”

Sean De Asis, a junior in the College of Engineering and vice president of internal for the Bayanihan Student Organization said that removing the students in leadership positions only hinders the diverse community and safe spaces that Marquette is trying to expand.

“It’s kind of ironic because most of our basis is on Marquette’s stance of ‘cura personalis’ which is care for the whole person, and if we’re doing that in our own organizations, why is Marquette not doing that for our community?” De Asis said.

De Asis also said that he is scared of how Marquette is planning to retain and support students of color after this decision.

“They [Marquette] should’ve been open to listen and alleviate, but instead they sought out punishment,” De Asis said. “They didn’t want to directly remove people, so they felt that probation was just the way by technicality to get them out of power.”

Hernandez has also advocated that the students be reappointed to their respective leadership positions. However, some other members of the greater campus community, such as Marquette parent Robin Winkler, have expressed their discontentment with the student’s actions.

“They took away so much from the incoming students and that is not how MU operates. They just made it harder to want to support this group … All voices matter but when you do it appropriately. I have a senior and I have never seen this disrespect to the larger community on campus before,” Winkler commented on the Marquette parent Facebook page.

Other campus community members suggested that the students face suspension or expulsion and receive financial penalties.

“Almost 2,000 students and their families were affected by this demonstration and it is obvious the leaders of this university know who they are and should find a monetary way to let them share in the disappointing result of their actions,” Tim Kilcoin, a Marquette alum, commented on the parent page.

While some expressed their disapproval for the student demonstrators online, some student-run meme pages are defending the students. Some student organizations are still hoping the university will reverse the decision.

While there is no set policy in place yet for replacing these student leaders, MUSG is currently conducting a survey on the best way to proceed.

Hannah Hernandez contributed to this report.

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab and Megan Woolard. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] and on Twitter @JuliaAbuz and @MeganWoolard4.