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Saturday, October 25, 2014

MSA committee proposes changing name to Social Justice Committee

Committee chairman said the group is less reactionary and more proactive.

Feb. 3, 2014

Since its birth during the Civil Rights movement, the Multicultural Issues Committee duties have changed.

“We feel like in 2014, (multicultural issues) has a negative connotation,” MCI chairman Payton Head said. “It doesn’t really reflect our goals of the committee because of how much we’ve evolved, especially in the past year.”

MCI was created after the Ku Klux Klan attended an Missouri Students Association Senate meeting to propose legislation that would not allow minority students on campus, Head said.

Now, MCI is more proactive in physically implementing changes on campus through events such as Hate Wall and SWIPES.

But the name of the committee is outdated, Head said.

“MCI was created as a … reactive student group on campus,” Head said. “We’ve evolved since then from being reactionary to proactive.”

Head and MCI vice chairwoman Young Kwon discussed the name change over winter break. When they arrived back on campus, they took about two weeks to craft the bill.

“We’ve talked to social justice center leaders, and they are informed about the name change,” Kwon said. “We’ve also informed most of the student social justice organizations as well.”

Head and Kwon proposed legislation to the MSA Senate on Jan. 29 that would change the name of the committee from MCI to the Social Justice Committee.

The legislation has not passed yet, but Head and Kwon optimistic.

“I definitely believe it will pass if senators are about moving MSA into the future,” Head said.

MCI is not the first organization on campus to change its name to better identify its role. Prior to 2009, the MSA/GPC Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center was called the MSA/GPC Rape Education Center, RSVP Center coordinator Danica Wolf said.

MCI, at the time of its inception, was an appropriate name, but the Social Justice Committee is simply a better umbrella term for all that MCI is involved with today on campus, Head said.

Instead of just discussing minority issues, the committee has expanded. It now works with different campus and Columbia communities that are not necessarily associated with the term “diversity,” such as veteran’s rights, LGBTQ and women’s rights and socioeconomic issues, Head said.

Head said his goal is to make the committee so inclusive that an individual who might not associate him or herself as being part of a minority background can feel comfortable joining or even leading the committee.

“A lot of the time, diversity, although it’s supposed to go hand in hand with inclusion, can sometimes exclude people who do not identify as ‘multicultural’ or ‘diverse,’” Head said. “The main goal of our committee is to make sure that students of all walks of life are welcome.”

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