Letter to the Editor: An End to the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative

We are writing today to call for an end to the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC). Since their inception, UDC has been a constructive effort to marginalize and undermine the advancement of minority groups on campus.

Without any power to write legislation and without the same influence as the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), groups such as The African American Society, African Students Association, and Muslim Students Association are left without direct representation to gain a solid foundation on Case Western Reserve University’s campus. The umbrella organization segregates student groups who represent minority views.

Last year, there was an effort to increase minority representation on the USG by a few determined members of the assembly. Support was sought from UDC President Lilly Tesfai, who expressed a strong opinion against increasing Black and Brown representation in USG.  

UDC is supposed to be a place of refuge and support for minority groups when faced with difficult situations on- and off-campus. There have been many instances where the organization has been silent and unsupportive during incidents that directly impacted their constituents. For example, over the summer, the organization was silent on the issue of Cleveland police officers being housed on our campus during the Republican National Convention, despite increasingly tense relations between police and Black and Brown people in this country. One would think that the Undergraduate “Diversity” Collaborative would lead the charge on helping to support groups who felt concerned during this ordeal. Many members, including their president, were on campus during the time and the organization did nothing.

If the true goal is to increase minority representation and advancement at CWRU, efforts should be directed at increasing representation in USG, where legislation can be created and passed and voices will not be marginalized.

As concerned students we are writing to voice our concern that UDC is not staying true to its mission statement of being advocates or a platform for the advancement of minority and disadvantaged groups at CWRU. The time is now to disband the organization and create more opportunities for these groups to gain leadership positions in USG, our main governing body.

Edward C. Bennett

Third-year student

USG Representative, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

Maleeka Aljawad

Third-year student

USG Representative, College of Arts & Sciences

Editor’s Update: Tesfai has since met with USG President Brian Ward one-on-one to help USG create a plan to improve internal diversity and attended the first meeting of USG’s diversity and inclusion ad hoc committee.