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Letters to the Editor

Letter: UCS is committed to transparency

By
Friday, September 30, 2016

To the Editor:

I’m disappointed by the recent Herald op-ed’s (“Shorter ’17: UCS needs to be transparent,” Sept. 28) framing of the Undergraduate Council of Students’ work toward informing our new members of Brown’s context as part of a conspiring liberal agenda.

On Sept. 24, UCS went into an executive session, as has been done numerous times in past administrations. During that meeting, the UCS executive board gave new members an overview of Brown and the context of the past few years. We dove into issues surrounding Title IX, mental health, work done by the various identity groups and much more. These are hard topics to engage with, especially for those just entering Brown. We wanted new members to ask questions and learn without the fear that soundbites would be taken out of context and plastered in the media. This was not a session to create policy nor was it a conspiracy to hide our “own agenda … that could prove unsettling even to the generally liberal Brown consensus” as Shorter suggested. The Herald actually published an article (“UCS introduces accessibility initiatives,” Sept. 15) a week prior clearly outlining our strategic plan and vision for the year.

Given campus media’s long history of misrepresentation, taking things out of context and editorial decisions that further marginalized groups of color, we made a choice to not let them record our new members during this educational exercise. This is the only executive meeting planned for the semester. I commit to an open Brown and will continue to talk about the things that matter. Shorter’s argument is a distraction from the good work we must do to continue to move Brown in a better direction. This is the responsibility we inherit, and I hope The Herald chooses to cover what matters as well. We look forward to partnering with The Herald in accomplishing these goals.

Viet Nguyen ’17

UCS President

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  1. But of course we only have your word for it and why should you be believed? And your vicious attack on the media (Given campus media’s long history of misrepresentation, taking things out of context and editorial decisions that further marginalized groups of color,) is so inappropriate. So it appears that you don’t care if you hurt the media’s feelings. But I guess we shouldn’t hurt your feelings, but it is perfectly alright for you to hurt the feelings of others. The people on the BDH are doing their best and to you speak like that is bound to leave some with hurt feelings, have you no shame!

    • BleepBloopBleep says:

      “And your vicious attack on the media (Given campus media’s long history of misrepresentation, taking things out of context and editorial decisions that further marginalized groups of color,) is so inappropriate. ”

      No, actually, this quite an accurate depiction of the BDH. The latter part is maybe up for debate in terms of the role of the press but anyone who has ever been interviewed by the BDH, particularly if they are a student group leader, knows that there is a significant risk your words will be twisted. At least that’s how it was 10-15 years ago when I was on campus and my younger sister said the same thing about her experience 5-10 years ago. That’s certainly long enough for me to believe that Viet is describing the BDH accurately as it operates today.

  2. It wasn’t my experience. But the point is that if Viet Nguyen is so concerned about the feeling of the council members that the have to go into executive session to protect them, he should not be disparaging others, even it true, as it might hurt their feelings. You can’t have it both way. While I think that people should be able to take criticism and talk in the open about things that make them uncomfortable, since he doesn’t he is a hypocrite for saying what he said. But i am sure he doesn’t see it that way and anyway I am sure he is too busy putting tampons in the mens rooms on campus to read this.

  3. TheRationale says:

    Viet, you’ll have to excuse us. We’re going to hold some UCS meetings without any of the UCS members present. They hold substantial power in the university, and their presence can be intimidating and harmful, which is really problematic when students want to be able to discuss sensitive issues. As a proponent of transparency, you’ll understand I’m sure. You’ll be informed after the interim committee has made its decisions.

  4. kazeegeyser says:

    “Given campus media’s long history of misrepresentation, taking things out of context and editorial decisions that further marginalized groups of color, we made a choice to not let them record our new members during this educational exercise.”

    The BDH will never live down publishing the eugenics article, huh?

    I will admit that when I read the original article about UCS closing its meetings, the tone of the article made it sound like that one would be the first of many closed meetings.

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