Undergraduate Student Government Chief Diversity Officer and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council Vivian Ren announced her plan to resign to USG members Monday night, according to a Slack message obtained by Annenberg Media.
This message included a draft of a statement from the DEI Council outlining future plans and demands of USG. These demands include increased transparency, accountability and training protocols to encourage anti-racist behavior and rhetoric.
Still pending administrative approval, the statement also calls for the immediate resignation of President Truman Fritz, Vice President Rose Ritch, and the entirety of the Executive Cabinet, of which Ren is a member.
“Rather than taking responsibility for his actions, Truman released a half-hearted apology, demonstrating a lack of introspection,” the statement says. “While we support the inclusion of marginalized voices in the council, we reject the notion that this measure would eradicate anti-Blackness from USG.”
The DEI Council asserted that Fritz did not consult them prior to publishing his proposal, failing to incorporate important voices on the council.
The DEI Council called for a leader who is “better-suited to represent the diverse interests of [our] student body.”
It has demanded that Fritz issue a genuine apology as an exercise of accountability.
In an effort to address flaws within the organization, the DEI Council suggested that USG implement new initiatives including stronger efforts of community outreach, a blind recruiting process, mandatory bystander intervention and bias training and documentation of systemic inequalities.
The DEI Council also heavily suggests the creation of a “truth commission,” which would investigate injustices and provide recommendations for reparations.
The statement identified the collective silence of the Executive Board on the issue of anti-Blackness, indicating complicity and ignorance in acknowledging the disconnect between the values of the student body and the values of the current USG administration.
As a gesture of solidarity, the DEI Council requested that all Executive Cabinet members, and student leaders closely associated with them, voluntarily resign from their positions.
In the future, the DEI Council has recommended that presidents and vice presidents provide a rationale for their cabinet appointments to the student body.
Signatories of this statement include the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, the Black Student Assembly, the Latinx Student Assembly, the Native American Student Assembly, and the Veterans Association.
“USC’s shameful history of oppression against numerous communities, including the Black community, is rarely addressed in a public setting. The reforms we seek cannot be short-lived,” the statement concludes.
The DEI Council encourages students to come forward with any concerns or suggestions that they may have to best serve the interests of the student body.