If you follow me on Twitter, you know that recently I began tweeting about my experiences (and lackthereof) with Undergraduate Student Government over the four short years that I have attended The Ohio State University.
Ever since I began attending Ohio State in 2012, USG has created many initiatives, made promises, and voiced rhetoric without following through to completion. Ever since I can remember, USG has told me countless times that it is an organization committed to diversity and the representation of all students at Ohio State. However as the years go on, different USG administrations give the same speeches, and it becomes clearer that this simply isn't true.
USG released an internal demographics report two weeks ago that showed the lack of diversity in the organization. It proved what most Ohio State students already knew: USG is mostly white, and over represents the greek population on campus. The numbers were clear: USG is failing to represent every student at Ohio State.
This is a problem that has existed for years. USG continues to have the same white, greek presidents every year. The last time most people inside USG remember having a non-white, non-greek president was almost 45 years ago, when former mayor of Cleveland Michael White ran against current Ohio Governor John Kasich and won. USG fails to reach out to minority groups on campus, and when they rarely do, it's usually around election season. USG is reactionary in the planning of town halls and initiatives instead of proactive. USG fails to communicate dates and deadlines in a timely manner, which hinders people from becoming active USG participants. USG continues to present an unwelcoming atmosphere to students who want to become involved, which causes many students to leave feeling discouraged and frustrated. USG continues to be unclear with what elected officials are actively doing for the campus community instead of operating as a transparent organization. If USG continues to fail at representing all students of Ohio State, then USG will continue to remain out of touch with what students want and need.
The #WriteInHaneyHenry campaign is a group of students who are tired of broken promises and half-hearted rhetoric. With Cin'Quan Haney running for President and Curtis Henry running for Vice President, we plan on addressing the structural inefficiencies within USG, keeping promises instead of breaking them, and creating a USG that represents all students, not just the greek community. Our policy focuses on three main points: Transparency/Accountability, Safety/Security, and Diversity/Inclusion.
In terms of Transparency/Accountability, we want all students at Ohio State to know what USG is doing, at all times. This means utilizing technology tools to keep students informed, issuing weekly USG updates, having monthly Town Hall meetings, and allowing students to see where USG funds are going.
In terms of Safety/Security, we want students to be safe. We will create yearly safety assessments from crime information around the university area, focus on making Ohio State more affordable to both in state and out of state students, address sexual violence, push for increased mental health resources, and the support the Women's Center initiative.
In terms of Diversity and Inclusion, we believe that diversity should not be departmentalized, but institutionalized. We are committed to diversity, and we will make sure USG finally represents this commitment. We will make all USG members take implicit bias tests, work to create a Diversity Lab where students and faculty are incentivised to do diversity programming, continue to issue yearly internal demographic reports, and work with other organizations to create a required cultural competency course through the First Year Experience program on understanding different backgrounds and having conversations about diversity.
This doesn't even begin to cover the full breadth of our policy platform. Not only does our policy address the current, unaddressed issues we see in USG, it also includes other initiatives and goals we are serious about. We want to begin to tap into the potential USG has to help every Ohio State student.
If you desire change within USG and the campus community, I implore you to learn more about our campaign. Learn more about our policy, visit our website at haneyhenry.com, and follow us on Twitter (@HaneyHenryOSU), Instagram (HaneyHenryOSU), Snapchat (WriteInHH), and Facebook (Write In Haney Henry). Let's elect an Undergraduate Student Government that represents ALL students. Help us change USG and the university for the better.