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ASWWU executive board discusses creation of new committee

Racial Equity Core Committee will seek equitable systems of change within AS government and community

Ranulfo Molina sought feedback on his proposal to create a Racial Equity Core Committee (RECC) during the Associated Students Board of Directors meeting, Feb. 13, 2021.
Ranulfo Molina sought feedback on his proposal to create a Racial Equity Core Committee (RECC) during the Associated Students Board of Directors meeting, Feb. 13, 2021. If created, the RECC committee will create systems of change within the AS gov and community among other duties. // Screenshot by Henrik Butz

By Henrik Butz

The creation of the Racial Equity Core Committee is in the works after the Feb. 13 meeting of the Associated Students Board of Directors. If approved, the RECC will serve to keep Western Washington University’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on track, create systems of change within the AS community and coordinate, prepare and execute strategic action plans regarded to racial equity. 

AS Vice President for Diversity Ranulfo Molina presented his idea for the RECC Committee to the board. The meeting focused on seeking feedback on the committee, its processes and membership. 

The purpose of the RECC committee is to “develop, coordinate, and organize racial equity strategies and programs that are dedicated to transforming equitable processes within the Associated Students of Western Washington University,” according to the RECC information document

Molina said the committee has been a work in progress for quite some time, with the initial activities of the committee revolving around community building, training and outreach with community organizers and leaders.

The committee will be made up of eight voting members, the committee chair and an AS student senator appointed by the AS senate pro tempore, according to the RECC document.

The chair position will be held by the AS Vice President for Diversity. The appointed student senator and committee chair will be non-voting members.

One representative from each AS office will be a member of the committee in order to have broad representation, Molina said. 

The committee will also operate with a rotating chair. Every quarter, the vice-chair will change, with a new vice-chair being appointed by the RECC through voting. 

Along with the 10 student members serving on the committee, there would be a staff advisor who would work to guide the committee in their endeavors, Molina said.

“Great work, and what a powerful opportunity for the AS,” said Eric Alexander, executive director of student engagement, before offering feedback regarding Molina’s RECC proposal.

Alexander said the committee should look at getting two staff advisors instead of one and looking at the possibility of adding at-large students to the committee who could offer feedback to the committee from a student’s perspective.

He also said the committee should also look to add term planning, as well as succession and appointment planning as people leave Western or cannot attend meetings. 

Sargun Handa, AS senate pro tempore, said she agreed with the voting structure but brought up questions regarding the even amount of voting members and how a tie would be resolved. 

“There is eight voting members — if there is a tie, who’s going to break it?” Handa said.

Handa suggested that in the event of a tied vote, the VP of Diversity or an at large student should have voting power in order to have an odd number of votes. The AS VP for governmental affairs and AS senate pro tempore should also be non-voting members, Handa said. 

“I do think the VP for Gov. would be a good addition to the committee as non-voting though, as they can reflect the information and discussion in legislative work,” said ASVP for Activities Keenan Kaemingk.

The RECC will be brought back as an action item at the Friday, Feb. 19 Associated Students Board of Directors meeting, where the board will vote on the creation of the committee.

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