Bias claims hinder SA

By Lisa Ferro

Racism charges are popping up at the Student Association meetings again—this time embedded in the questioning of student groups during the budget process.

Some senators were offended Sunday when Minority Relations Adviser Belinda Tijerina was upset with how senators were grilling representatives of minority student groups.

Those senators took Tijerina’s objections as calling their line of questioning racist and countered that the organizations were discriminatory because some have prerequisites to become a member.

In the heart of the debate was the Black Graduate Student Association and the Black Greek Council. Some senators questioned the BGS if the group was open to white undergraduates. BGS representative Bruce Williams said any graduate student is eligible to be an active member while undergraduate students can become associate members.

The Black Greek Council also was questioned because a student has to be a member of a greek organization to join this organization.

Tijerina said the senators incorrectly thought the BGC wasn’t open to all students, but anyone can become greek and join the BGS.

But Sen. Richard Parkman disagrees.

“I feel that every organization should be open to every student,” said Parkman. “I think that’s a basic right.”

Parkman said he is going to petition the SA Supreme Court for a decision to see if groups such as the BGC, Interfraternity Council, and the like have discriminatory admission requirements. The IFC oversees some greek organizations.

“I feel the racism accusation was only true if we were only going against the BGC,” said Parkman.

Tijerina said she was disappointed with how the questions were presented. “I felt they (senators) were getting a high out of asking people these questions,” she said.

Tijerina gave the example of Sen. Drew Krenke asking the BGC about the authority of the organization. “I don’t think it was in her power to answer them,” Tijerina said.

Tijerina called the insinuations that the BGC has discriminatory admissions policy “extreme” and emphasized in no way was she insinuating racism on the senators’ part.

owever, some senators didn’t take it that way. “The way she stated it directly, I directly inferred it was about race,” Parkman said referring to Sunday’s meeting.

“It wasn’t just minority organizations that were getting scrutinized,” Tijerina said. “All of them were getting scrutinized, but as minority relations adviser, I felt they were being nit-picky.”

Parkman said the reason these insinuations were not brought up in the past is because “no one had the guts to do it.

“A lot of senators are either in these organizations or are there to protect them,” Parkman explained.