Letter: RHA addresses bias-motivated incidents at CSU

Guest Author

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval. This letter was sent to The Collegian on March 4.

We write to you today as Residence Hall Association Cabinet members with the continuous support of our sister organization, the National Residence Hall Honorary Cabinet members. We are students and residents, and we stand in solidarity with our fellow students, faculty, and staff impacted by all hate-motivated incidents that have occurred at Colorado State University and the surrounding community. Within our roles as RHA Cabinet members, we serve as a student government for the residential hall communities on campus, by providing a platform for residents and advocates through hall councils, organizations based in each residence hall, NRHH meetings, and RHA Senate meetings.

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In this academic year, we have been addressing bias-motivated incidents since their appearance on-campus. Starting on August 22, 2017, we discussed the Newsom noose event as a cabinet and addressed the tone that the year was having set by that event, and our actions were further solidified by our Statement of Solidarity that was written with NRHH and released on November 17, 2017 to every resident living in the halls at the time. Throughout the course of the year roundtable discussions have been held in both the RHA and NRHH spaces to determine the best course of action.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, RHA received and passed two resolutions total. This year, RHA has passed seven resolutions, out of which three addressed impacted identities at CSU. We expect at least two more resolutions written specifically to address bias motivated incidents by the end of term.

RHA continually supports events that encourage diversity events that educate and create awareness on this campus including, but not limited to: the Fall and Spring Drag Shows from PRISM, Shabbat 200 and Passover from Chabad Jewish Student Organization at CSU, and Dia de los Muertos from Residence Assistants of CSU.

In tandem with NRHH, we have facilitated programs such as a resolution writing event, inviting speakers from SDPS offices into our general body meetings, a showing of Dear White People in the LSC Theater, and more. While NRHH and RHA have seperate mission statements, we serve the same goal of supporting students living in the residence halls and providing student development that is critical for college students. By creating safe spaces for student success, we attempt to provide resources and education to empower student leaders to do the same.

In addition to seeing a growth in resolutions within our space, we are seeing our students and hall councils under our supervision engage with these changes and implement them in their leadership and communities. The hall councils have created programs such as diversity events and roundtable discussions. Many hall councils have invited their Inclusive Community Assistants into their hall councils or programs to provide additional support and education throughout these events on campus.

Additionally, we welcome all residents, regardless of identity, background, or affiliation, to our spaces. As a recognized student organization at CSU, our organizations shall not deny membership to any student on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy.

While we acknowledge that we are not the only organizations on campus to address these issues and the steps we have taken have not reached every student that was impacted or concerned by the events on campus, these are steps that are necessary and set the path of our organizations to respond to these incidents in the future, and we invite all students to engage in these conversations as peers and mentors to one another.

We are a student government, a resource, and a safe environment for all students. Further, we are committed to actively participating in an ongoing campaign for safe and inclusive environments. Residents – and all students of CSU – deserve people on their side and a platform to stand on, and we are determined to advocate for unheard voices on this campus.

-Residence Hall Association Cabinet
Kyra Ferguson, President
Morgan Crump, Director of Finance
Maddie Wright, Director of Advocacy and Administration
Lauren Rodgers, Director of Residential Development
Wes Taylor, Director of Residential Events and Programming
Jenny Olson, Director of Marketing and Promotions
George Sanchez, National Communications Coordinator

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