We are compelled to write today in response to a letter calling for the end of the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC). Thank you to the authors of this letter for beginning this conversation in such a public forum. UDC is an organization committed to diversity and inclusion, and the idea that we have instead worked to undermine the advancement of such is absurd.
We are a collaborative, meaning that member organizations play a significant role in our decision-making. Organizations who have affiliated themselves with UDC have done so of their own volition, and to assume otherwise is an insult to their autonomy. Mentioning individual UDC organizations with neither consultation nor consent is disrespectful. To then claim that they lack a solid foundation on this campus is as ignorant as it is presumptive. With the occupation of campus by riot police and members of the National Guard over the summer, we would have been misguided to take action without the ability to fully assess the position of our constituents.
The existence of UDC is an unprecedented recognition of the experiences of underserved students. Students of all religions, races, ages, ethnicities, abilities, genders, sexualities and socioeconomic backgrounds should feel empowered. The suppression of certain voices necessitated the establishment of a mechanism to circumvent such structural obstacles. Thus, passing in student referendum by a 71 percent majority, the UDC was founded.
Our dedication to our constituents is lived out through dialogue, with an awareness that experiences cannot be conveyed through legislation. The nature of our collaborative ensures that there are leaders who will understand their concerns, sympathize with their experiences and prioritize their needs. Calling for an end to the UDC without eliminating the discrimination that necessitated its establishment only reinforces the perpetual silencing of individuals who deserve to be heard. A referendum was necessary for our establishment, and a referendum will be necessary for our abolition.
The Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative