Student Council Passes Diversity Pledge Aimed At First-Year Students

Franny Corneliussen, Cavalier Daily (Charlottesville, Va.), Feb. 1, 2007

Student Council passed a resolution last night to institute an undergraduate pledge against prejudice.

The legislation is designed to give students a chance “to reflect on issues of community diversity and multi-vocality after first-year orientation” and recognize “the history of institutionalized inequalities at the University.”

Diversity Initiatives Co-Chairs Ryan McElveen and Yvonne Ng sponsored the legislation along with Executive Vice President Nick Jordan.

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During debate of the legislation, several representatives expressed concern over whether the names of the pledge’s signatories should be available to the public.

Law School Rep. Brendan Dignan said releasing names would create what he called a “forced message” as well as a “reciprocal black list” in which students who did not sign the pledge might be discriminated against.

Other Council members said making names available shows an effort on behalf of University students to create a friendlier environment.

“The pledge shows a proactive stance that will give comfort to people in the community,” Jordan said.

According to McElveen, the push for the pledge began four months ago and stemmed from a similar initiative by University Law students following an incident involving two gay Law students.

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