ASUN Town Hall 5-15-20

(mumbles) – Our department’s goals for the town hall today are to promote a constructive and open discussion about student identities and experiences on the UNR campus in an effort to educate one another and address recent concerns We are hosting this to provide a platform where individual perspectives and opinions can congregate We encourage respectful dialogue, which will be enforced by a set of ground rules established by our moderators There’s also a panel here today consisting of ASUN and student representatives, who are available to answer and respond to specific inquiries and questions And now I will allow the panel to introduce themselves I’m starting with President Hall – Okay Well, my name is Dominique Hall And I’m currently the ASUN President I’m really glad to be here today to answer any questions that people have about identity and how it relates to me So, yeah, thank you guys for being here – And next we have ASUN Senator Lauren Harvey – Hi, everyone, my name is Lauren Harvey What about me? I’m a sophomore here at the university I am a Senator for the College of Liberal Arts I’m also the ASUN parliamentarian right now So that basically just means that I help train officers on how to run meetings, advise the Senate body, things like that It’s very, not interesting introduction, but that’s a little bit about me I’m an International Affairs major, a Spanish major and a Gender, Race and Identity major And thank you all for having us – Thank you And the last member of our panel is Shay Jordan, a member of the GRL Sorority on campus – Hi, my name is Shay Jordan, my pronouns are they, them, theirs Like I previously mentioned, I’m currently the Traditions Keeper for Gamma Rho Lambda, the first LGBTQ plus sorority in the state of Nevada And I am also Vice President for Queer Student Union – Thank you And now I will let the moderators kind of take control and introduce themselves – Okay, who are the moderators? Hello – Hey, Dr. Lykes, actually you were supposed to be one of the moderators today – Okay, okay I was just repeating the, what you updated I can introduce myself And then I believe Jose, Jose, are you the other moderator? – I’m with you today on this, yes – Good, okay So (mumbles) Thank you for the invitation And I’m Dr. Jody Lykes I work in The Center, Every Student, Every Story I teach several courses I think, probably, not seeing anyone who’s been in my classes But I teach Gender, Race and Identity 201 And that’s contemporary diversity, as well as Hip Hop Studies and Children and Families in a Multi Ethnic Society I’ve been at The Center for 10 years now in my role in the African Diaspora Program But that’s my introduction How are we start there? – Thank you, Jody I have an opportunity to work with Jody We both work in The Center, Every Student, Every Story I came to U of Nevada, Reno most recently, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo I was the Assistant Director of Multicultural Services there and I’m the Director of Multicultural Services here And oversee The Center, Every Student, Every Story I’ve been working in this area of diversity in these efforts since 2001, since I was an undergrad And I’ve always had a passion for this type of work And initially started my work with outreach, went out into communities And trying to build those pathways for students from underrepresented communities, minoritized communities to connect to institutions of higher learning So that’s my passion and I still continue to hold that And have the fortune of working with Dr. Lykes on these issues within The Center and on campus – I think we wanted to lay down some ground rules as I’m using the gallery mode on Zoom

in order to see the other participants And make sure that everyone’s taking turns speaking, no over talking Everyone have their camera turned on, if it’s possible for you, so that there’s no anonymity Raise your hand when you wanna speak You know, it’s basically just be (mumbles) be respectful to the people in the room And then acknowledge and listen to the moderator, that’s always self serving, but I kind of like it today And the moderators And stay focused on the topic at hand Which I’m really good at getting everyone off on a different tangent And I think that sometimes these discussions need some, you know, spontaneity where you might go to how you’re feeling insane We’re not trying to say don’t, don’t change the topic or anything But we’re here to moderate so we got you on that Just be respectful And a lot of times when we open this discussion, it can be emotions, feelings So we’re not trying to shut any of those down I think that’s probably the benefit of coming together and having a dialogue – And I just wanna add, just fundamentally, it’s okay to not agree I think oftentimes we feel we’re debating And we’re not on a debate stage, we’re listening to each other And it’s okay to say I respectfully disagree And I’d like to engage you on challenging that idea I was just in a meeting with Sandy earlier, it was a beautiful meeting Because we were able to engage with each other’s professionals in that way And so just think about that You know, we’re not trying to bring everyone to the same page, or feel ‘Cause you all have separate life experiences that are bound to privilege and power and lack of privilege and lack of power And so when we’re engaging in conversations, oftentimes, that’s where we’re coming from So no one’s gonna deny your experience and your feelings and your thoughts So we’re here to hear the plethora of of ideas that you are – Can we start with the questions and see? Or does that sound like a good move? – Yes, we can get started, thank you – Alright, so what’s our first question? What are we doing? – The first question that we have here is, how do you define and interpret your own identity? Have you ever felt unsafe or unwelcome on campus because of your identity? – Who wants to start? – I guess I can start So how I interpret my identity is, as a black woman, I feel like a lot of my experiences can’t be related to anyone else who isn’t black Because I feel like being black has its own interpretations like the only people who experience anti blackness are black people And so I feel like in terms of oppression, I can’t really relate to, I guess, another person of color that isn’t black Because I feel like there are just certain, there’s just certain things that comes with being black That doesn’t come with being a different race And in terms of being unwelcomed on campus, I have felt unwelcomed with some of the organizations I have been in Because there’s only 3% of black students on this campus And so when you really come to a campus where the majority, like, yeah, 90% of the people don’t even look like you It’s like, you can feel really uncomfortable, which is how I felt in the past – Thank you for sharing that I think it’s hard even to, that’s I think, a very strong point of leadership Because I think it’s hard to even make that statement When maybe knowing that someone might understand it, maybe not understand your everyday experience And then maybe one for me and I’m not gonna respond to everything But I just, that was kind of a powerful start, right? It’s like that even black people on campus are having a different experience So not all black people have the same experience And so how interesting that, sometimes we don’t even talk to each other about that experience We isolate and say, you know what, I’m living this every day But I didn’t share it with other people Thank you for taking that That’s a bold start – Are there other panels (mumbles) I’ll share your screen – I wanna jump off of that point really quickly Especially with what was said about that representation in our campus I will personally say that, while, I’ve never felt outright unwelcomed in any way, it’s sometimes never an outright thing

There are a lot of times in which there are facets of my identity that have to be broken apart Because I cannot control the way that people see me I cannot control the way that I’m viewed to other people A lot of the times it is a large separation of me being a black person There’s a separation of me being a trans person And those things have to consistently, I either have to consistently put myself in situations in which I have to put those two together Or I have to deal with the fact that in those groups, one of those facets of my identity will not be spoken about Or will not be acknowledged So for me in particular, my identity is made up of so many different things just because depending on the circumstances and depending on where I am, some of those things won’t always be seen And some of those things are a lot louder than other things are I will say that, I have seen a lot of progress on this campus Especially since now I feel like I’m seeing a bit of representation with the fact that we have a black woman as ASUN President And that’s something that I’m really, really proud of Because I was never 100% sure if I would be able to see that, you know, while I was here Or if that was something we’d have to wait until later And sometimes, to be quite frank, sometimes, you know, the environment isn’t ready for those type of representation, isn’t ready for that type of representation, but it’s needed anyway And those conversations have to be started And dialogues such as this have to be opened up – I guess for kind of the way that I identify and you know, the way that I kind of approach this situation is just first by, you know, thinking of, what is identity? Because I think a lot of the reasons that we have kind of harsh discussions on this is because of the fact that we all define identity as something different So the way that I, I guess that I really define identity are really the factors that play in, that really inform the way that you live your everyday life They affect the way that you experience the world around you and the way that you interact with people and things like that And so, you know, my identity as, I’m a white woman, I’m heterosexual, I’m cisgender I’m a first generation student I identify as an ally All these things really are what informed the way that I do life on a day to day basis And because, you know, many of those identity factors that I just mentioned, are ones that have historically been tied to privilege, have been tied to the oppressor On this campus, I have not felt that unwelcomeness or oppression or discrimination or anything like that Because for the most part, for most of those identity factors that I identify with, this campus was really made for people like me And so that’s why, you know, my identity as an ally really comes into play Because this campus was made for me And so you know, using those privileges that come with my whiteness, my heterosexuality, my cisgender you know, all of those things is what I need to use to bring people who don’t have those privileges into the conversation And you know, being represented in things like ASUN and in the university as a whole – Thank you all for sharing those experiences It’s not difficult to acknowledge privilege or lack thereof right in the context of institution Or not feeling that sense of community in the institution or feeling it It could be guilt with the privilege and that’s not a healthy place to be in either as we’re exploring these ideas and concepts I don’t know Dr. Lykes if you will have, ask the next question or – No, other than for me, I spent a lot of time as a student And I’m not trying to make it about me necessarily, but it sounds similar that I wanted to learn about blackness, right? Everything for me was black power, black history, Chicano history Those are the things that drew me And it wasn’t until later on that I started learning about whiteness and the space that whiteness holds as an identity And then it starts to make things clear Because everything isn’t about my identity And as you can learn about different identities, it’s powerful if you are white and are able to recognize white as a location in racial identity It’s powerful ’cause you’re also developing in how you see the world, how you see racial dynamics And how you see racial identity I follow, I use heavily the work of Janet Helms, Racial Identity Development Theory And, I mean, I’ve kind of built the things that I teach, the things that I ask students to work from there

And she’s powerful work on that We’re not all in the same place That there are stages to this So the first stage (mumbles) But let’s see The next question we have is, how has your identity shaped your experience on campus? Who are all of the panelists? ‘Cause I came and passed the introduction If you’re a panelist, who’s all the panelists? – It’s me, Shay and Lauren – Okay, let’s start, Shay again – So the question was, how does my identity shape my experience on campus, right? – Yes – Okay So I feel like I have a very unique perspective as far as my identity and how it interacts with my own campus environment Because I really found a lot of my identity while being on campus Particularly I came from a home that didn’t have as much of, as much of a view of the world that I was able to gain when I did come to campus I came in with a very closeted mindset And so I think a lot of myself hadn’t been developed yet So I’m really lucky that I was able to attend such a great university that was able to expand my worldview in that sense But at the same time, as I continue to discover my identity, I also began to discover the intersectionality of discrimination And you know, unwelcomeness that came with it So I got all of it kind of at the same time While I am very proud of the of the university in the sense that I have found a lot of the great resources that we provide to our students in the same position as me with the same intersectional issues Such as The Center, Every Student, Every Story I also found that there was a lot of frustration within the communities that I was able to bond myself with And the issues that I consistently found on our campus This campus has definitely shaped, this campus has definitely expanded my worldview as far as the communities and the intersectionalities that exist between all the different facets of an identity Including race and gender and sexuality But at the same time, it also very much exposed me to a lot of the issues that not only lie when looking at those communities from the outside But then those issues within those communities, as well when you attempt to intersect all of these issues Which has honestly done nothing more than, you know, pushed me to want to explore these issues further And to have more of these discussions and look at you know, what can we do? What do we need to talk about? And what needs to be opened up for discussion? – Dom, Lauren, what’s going down? – Now you wanna go? – Yeah, this is great (mumbles) – So I think since kind of building off of what shay said I think intersectionality is a big part of my identity As a sexual assault survivor, as a low income student, first generation student and like minority student I think I have a lot of identities that other people, like you don’t have to look like me to relate to my identities And I feel like it’s really kind of like being here has made me I guess be exposed to my identities Because of like, the discrimination that happens to each one that I intersect with So with being exposed to my identities, I think it’s made me more like to embrace them And I think this has helped me, like find my own identity Like be my own person And I think this has even helped me with my positions on campus and really just embracing my identities And showing students that you can, like, I guess, showing students that you can be successful, even if you come from a background that like, a lot of people don’t come from – To kind of go off of that, I feel like I’ve had a similar experience And that, you know, coming to this university, like, stepping into this culture really, this mini society, I guess, you could say, has really led me to embrace certain parts of my identity I think, on a day to day basis, we really use different parts of our identity Like a really big identity factor for me is that I’m a big sister But that doesn’t necessarily, you know, inform my experience at the university but instead with my family and things like that So kind of going off what Dr. Lyke said about you know,

whiteness being a location I think my different identifying factors have put me in a certain location in the college culture in such a way that my location relative to other people is basically set And that’s kind of how it is I feel like when it comes to any identifying factors, race, ethnicity, you know, gender, sexuality, all of those things And so in that way, you know, my identity basically says, you know, you’re in this position at the university, you’re in this position of privilege You know, position of not having privilege, whatever it is And I really think that, you know, for me, someone who says that I do have more privilege than the not You know, I am a first generation student, I don’t see myself as someone who is necessarily underrepresented or a minority student And I feel like a lot of us with the privileges that I have are really quick to defend those privileges And that is something that really shapes our experience as well Because we’re so caught up, especially with whiteness, so caught up with defending ourselves and saying, you know, whiteness isn’t this or white people don’t do that All of these things when we’re confronted by people who don’t have those privileges, that really makes for difficult situations Because it makes the situation seem very us versus them And I think that’s what shaped a lot of students’ experiences Not just you know, on this campus, but on campuses nationwide Because we are so caught up in, identify this, you are that And so we’re different, case closed And so that’s why I think conversations like this are so important Because we’re having dialogue about our identities, rather than just saying, you’re different than me I don’t wanna talk to you about my identity, your identity, whatever it is – Thank you all the panelists for, you’re raising so many issues and stating your experience but teaching us a lot And I mean, for me, you know, I was invited to be on this panel And I have the role as a moderator, but intersectionality came from Kimberly Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins, who were black women talking about what their experience as black women meant to them It came from Combahee River Collective And it came from Anna Julia Cooper And all throughout history, black women have stated what it meant for them to be black women And how interesting that as you go to intersectionality that we’re still just barely (mumbles) It’s barely kind of, in scholarship its popular The other thing is that I see a lot of students have this be a time when they start to question and explore who you are Who you are as students, your identity When you’re a student, you might be in a different position than you were when you were at home And so a lot of research talks about students and exploring identity And then for whiteness and what you were describing Lauren is, to me, it’s white fragility And Robyn D’Angelo does a great work for kind of telling the experience of calling out whiteness from the perspective of a white woman So there’s a lot of scholars that do it But you’re all just like, (mumbles) you have so much wisdom in your experience already But I wouldn’t shut down, that your youth is a perfect time to be with other people, to be in an environment where you have to say, who am I? What does that mean to me? What does my previous experience mean? And without further discussion, because it’s not a lecture Jose, I got the next question And Jose, can you get the last one after? – Yeah – Alright How do you feel about the current ASUN Student Government’s ability to address identity? And that’s to our panelists We’re still with panelists Yes – Well, personally, I think a lot of ASUN officers are afraid to address identity Because they aren’t really educated on the topic Because most of ASUN are white students I’m just gonna be honest And I feel like when it’s time to talk about identity, especially at retreat, because that’s when we talk about identity the most with one training, which I don’t agree with But it seems like, from what I experienced in that retreat last year, everyone just gets afraid to talk about identity They don’t wanna talk about it And I think that’s problematic Because I think we need to talk about it so that we can all understand for our students that we represent So I feel like (mumbles) yeah, the current ASUN administration is afraid to address identity – Panelist, thank you Lauren, Shay

Shay, you’re up – Jumping off of that, I think that ASUN taking a serious look at identities and taking a serious look at a lot of the intersectional issues that pop up when you talk about identities, is going to be a long, hard road And I don’t say that to say that it’s going to be a slow process I just think that it’s going to be a difficult one ‘Cause a lot of the issue that bringing up these identities causes is what you mentioned earlier, Dr. Lykes Not just white fragility, but just this idea that you have to look outside of your own perspective And look outside of your own identity And I know a lot of the time when I’ve had discussions about identity with people, one of the biggest things is that, well, the thing say is that, well, it doesn’t take away from the things that I’ve done I think that’s one of the biggest issues is that looking at the sense of privilege and looking at how this experience is going to be very different than someone who doesn’t look like you All of a sudden seems to mean that, you know, all of the accomplishments that you’ve made, all of the good things that you’ve done have all just chalked up to privilege, which isn’t true Privilege has an impact on how people experience the world and how people experience different situations But under no circumstances does that privilege mean that was the only reason why, you know, you got something done Or that’s the only reason why this is important So being able to take that away, out of these conversations, instead of talking about, you know, well, your goals and your accomplishments were all you know, impacted by your privilege Just taking a look at, you know, my experience is shaped by the fact that I don’t look like a lot of people I go to school with The way that I’m looked at, the way that I’m talked to The way that you know, I’m going to experience job interviews, the way I’m gonna experience internship interviews, the way I’m gonna experience you know, relationships with coworkers, is going to look very different between the two of us And it’s time that we start taking a lot of, we start taking a really big look at how we think about these things We take a really big look at how we talk to people, we take a really big look at our tone of voice And taking a minute to step out of our own perspectives and out of our own mindsets But again, that’s something that’s really difficult And you know, that’s understandable that it’s really difficult ’cause you’ve had your own perspective and your own mindset, your entire life So it just makes sense to think that way But breaking down those thoughts are going to be one of the first things And like I said, that in itself is going to be a long, hard journey But I will absolutely say that I am proud of the leadership that we have established in ASUN, that want to start breaking those things down And want to start having those conversations ‘Cause that’s, you know, one of the biggest first steps You can’t go down that road without opening up that conversation first So that already gives me quite a bit of hope – Could you repeat the question one more time Dr. Lykes? – Sure How do you feel about the current ASUN Student Government’s ability to address identity – Well, I guess I should preface this by saying, since I’m an ASUN officer, I think that my take on this question is going to be very different than someone who’s not necessarily an officer Because I think my scope of ASUN is much more, I don’t wanna say, zoomed in, I guess It’s much more focused on you know, the things that the office or body is doing And I think it’s informed in different ways and then not informed in different ways I definitely think it’s taken steps It’s not perfect at all I think it’s taken steps We have, you know, a new committee that’s specifically dealing with these issues I think in our previous programming events, we’re taking more steps to foster events that are really culturally responsive and not just created for these certain groups of students But in that same vein, I think kind of like what Dom said, I think that there is a lot of misunderstanding and uneducation Or just lack of education within the Student Government, that makes it really, really difficult to have these conversations or even approach the issue at all Just because, you know, and I’m not saying just for the student, you know, not just for the white officers, not just for the officers that have privilege I’m talking about for all officers I think there’s a lot of lack of education on other people’s experiences, on what, you know, identity and the theories behind it really are And I think that has contributed kind of

to this lack of conversation around identity and identity politics, basically Because we are so like, shut in to our factions, I almost wannna say We’re so shut into our mindsets And kind of like what Shay was saying, you know, the idea that, well, just because I’m white, that doesn’t mean that, I got my senate position just because I’m white You know, I worked really hard for it And this defensiveness And I’m, you know, in the same way, you know, students who don’t have privilege say, you know, saying that people who do have privilege are this, this and this and this I think that really, the conversations have been very unproductive when they have happened Just because it, like I mentioned before, I think it is very us versus them, you know Students with privilege are saying, are really just trying to defend themselves saying, you have no idea what you’re talking about I’m not like that My privilege doesn’t give me all these things Students without privilege are saying, (mumbles) it’s your fault, or it’s your privilege that you’re blinded to and things like that And we really haven’t had a lot of conversations about just having humility and just being really vulnerable And saying, maybe, you know, maybe you’re right, maybe my privilege has, you know, has impacted the things that I’ve been able to accomplish Or, you know, maybe you’re right, maybe I should see beyond your privilege and see the ways that you have actually worked for these types of things and things like that So I definitely, to go back to the question, I definitely think that there are more things that the Student Government should be doing And I think that it really starts with being vulnerable and open And I think that’s just, it’s just a human thing It’s hard to do as humans to be open and to have humility Because we want to, we have reputations to protect So I think, (mumbles) most of us are elected officials All of us have been hired by either the students or people who were hired by the students And so I think it’s rightfully within our duties that we need to be open and vulnerable about these conversations – Thank you, thank you all I’m just gonna say, for you all open up an offer this vulnerability is tremendous and appreciated I think when it comes to organizations and addressing issues around diversity inclusion, we have to be very intentional And oftentimes, it’s our place of reactionary behavior that may guide our need to respond to something And instead, we have to be in this intentional space consistently Which for those in leadership roles may feel restricting, because you now have a privilege of a position But it opens up your personal life, it opens up all these aspects that previously were not necessarily concealed, but definitely not as open and not as visible And it brings into that context, how are we being intentional with our leadership roles, you know, within ASUN? So I think that’s something we need to think about whenever we are looking at this Because it can be easy Or also have a conversation Is that person ready for the conversation? And it’s not always about readiness, but consent Are they consenting to engage in that? Are you bringing all parties to the table in a way in which people are open and allowing for that? So that’s something to think about, on these issues that can be contentious It doesn’t mean it will resolve any avenue of conflict, but it will create the space that allows for that, for growth there So I know Dr. Lykes was signaling me, but I know we’re gonna open it up to a different space So Dr. Lykes, (mumbles) – We just wanna make sure that now there is one more question we can ask of the panelists Just that anyone who has questions or wanna make comment in the whole group, now the panelists have started us off with some powerhouse statements Let’s open it up to our group And (mumbles) maybe then, is there anyone at this point who has their hand raised to ask a question? or would like to ask a question or make a statement? Alright, Destiny long time, no see You have the floor – Okay, so I wasn’t really trying to ask a question I wanted to answer more of the previous question Do you feel like the current administration in ASUN handles identity appropriately? I kind of wanted to refer back to a statement that Shay had made, that really stood out to me She said that Dominique is (mumbles) representing a minority of students, black students on this campus

And sometimes students on this campus are not ready for that kind of thing And I feel like Dominique, being elected as President kind of did show the unreadiness of certain students and ASUN as a whole Personally, since I’m not in ASUN, I could only see the outside But going back to that, I’m kind of worried how this thing is gonna go I feel like in ASUN personally, when it comes to electing someone from a diverse background, it looks good to them on paper It looks good to them on the outside, but when it actually comes to bringing in difficulties or bringing in different perspectives, that’s when they kind of see it as something that is unseen or divided I remember going back to Dominique’s previous statement that students of color and black people are not the same Personally black students might see that as a true statement, while others might not see that as a true statement And I felt like at that time, that was a perfect time to actually see dialogue and bring in dialogue But when it comes to Dominique being a minority student, that is her perspective And the unreadiness of ASUN kind of shut it down and saw her as automatically being divisive when in that case, she’s not being divisive She’s actually bringing in her personal experiences as a black woman on campus and as a black woman in society Do I kind of make sense? – You make perfect sense Everything that has been said today has made incredible sense And so yes, thank you Destiny (mumbles) I mean, yes And the floor is open right now The same question, previous questions Just making sure that we can get everyone who wants to be involved And there is another question for the panelists But I didn’t wanna move on without seeing if there’s anyone who wanted to raise their hand There’s a lot on the table right now, there’s a lot to talk about And sometimes it takes time to process I think that even when you start these discussions, we wanna have an immediate answer We wanna have, I understand and feel this all right now, I can express it verbally Sometimes it takes you, it might come to you And next week, you’re like, Destiny said that a week ago, but now I figured it out So don’t worry, we’re not in a rush But we don’t wanna leave anyone out One more chance to raise your hand if you have something you’d like to say And then I’ll ask the question – I raised my hand I’m not sure if you can see it on there – I didn’t see it, no, I didn’t – Aright, can I go ahead? – Yes, how do I say your name? – Abui – Abui? – Yes – Yeah – Alright I feel like the first step in all of this is recognizing that, you know, with all these committees that we talk about, like, you know, ASUN creating communities to discuss identity issues A lot of people in these groups do not represent the student population So these people are having discussions, they’re having judgments on other people’s opinions and serving those judgments Like just bringing up the example of the whole issue that started with President Hall, claiming to be the first black President On that, you know, panel of moderators, there wasn’t anyone that was black And it felt as though they’re trying to cause Dom to give a sort of politically correct answer I feel like for these conversations to happen, the people that are involved in these issues need to be in those kind of positions where they’re able to moderate and give their own opinions I feel like a lot of the issues that UNR that stem from at least back issues, from my knowledge, always start with someone who is not black, trying to play sort of the white Savior, to have those discussions And as a black person, I feel like for you to have to be in that position you need to discuss with black people to find out what their perspective on I feel like most of the times, they try to push off a ideology or opinion and claim it as what it is But it doesn’t represent the black community, just as we, and a couple days ago, there was this whole thing on Twitter about what it means to be black And what that means in correlation to being a person of color A lot of black students did feel like they didn’t qualify as a person of color Because their experiences as a black person is very different from other people of color

And that is not to diminish the struggles of other people of color You know, different races of people go through their own struggles that we black people can never experience But when we try to pull from our identity, people always seem to think it’s more of a us versus them situation, which it isn’t Because it’s us expressing our opinions on what it means to be black in America, at UNR And it’s very disappointing to see that a lot of people that said negative things were ASUN representatives It’s just frustrating to see that people who are supposed to be in a position, that are supposed to represent students are not properly representing students as they should And I just felt like a lot of the times where people would make statements regards to Dominique Hall’s statements on issues dealing with blackness It felt very micro aggressive They probably didn’t realize that That’s the main issue, but they probably didn’t realize that But it was micro aggressive, just from my perspective as a black person I feel like ASUN is a long way from being good at addressing issues with identity But right now I just don’t think they’re there yet – Okay, I saw Shay, your hand up And I just, let’s not stop it Let’s keep going while we got the time We are saying stuff – I just wanted to jump off a point that both Destiny and Abui had said about, particularly Destiny about the way that she had brought us not quite being ready for that representation in ASUN Again, it is a representation that is needed But to be quite honest with you, I know exactly both of what’s being talked about Even before the voting happened for ASUN President, I feel like I saw our campus not being ready for these conversations and not being ready for this representation I had the wonderful privilege of being on the team that helped put together the town hall My story to put together this wonderful queer town hall, in which we got to talk to candidates for ASUN President and talk about what their experiences were And one of the things that really stuck out to me was at one point Dominique had said that there have been issues with our police services on campus And as much as she wanted to promise people that, you know, she could go in their place and talk to police officers And be that voice for them at those tables, that as a black woman, she simply didn’t feel comfortable with it I immediately saw, you know, other you know, white people in the audience that immediately almost kind of diminished that experience for her I saw, you know, people asking questions of, well, have you talked to police officers? Have you actually had conversations with them? Have you actually taken a minute to explore what they do on a regular basis? And as a black person, that immediately, you know, that immediately got to me Like the fact that that was an immediate diminishing of her experience as a black person on this campus And the interactions that she’s had with the people that are supposed to be in charge on this campus A lot of the time, that are supposed to be there to protect us And the fact that she’s stating these experiences as a black person and didn’t want to elaborate Because fairly, she didn’t have to Just to be turned around and to essentially be asked, well, are you sure that was your experience? Are you sure that’s how you feel? Are you sure that you’re valid in how you feel? That even before and again this (mumbles) – Yes, I’m sure (laughs loudly) – And again, this was a conversation that happened This is a town hall that happened well before the voting happened for ASUN President And that told me enough about, you know, are we ready to have someone in that office? Truthfully, we weren’t But we need to have someone in that office And I think that experiences such as that, just highlight how much we need to start having these conversations ‘Cause of the sheer fact that a black woman outright said, I don’t wanna be near a police officer, I don’t wanna talk to a police officer because of my own experiences, and my own, you know, identity that has an impact on how that police officer is going to see me To have that immediately being diminished and immediately having that, you know, essentially look that as where you might be Well, that felt like to me as you might be making things up You might be being dramatic as a black person And that in itself told me a whole lot So I just wanna say that I am absolutely very, very proud of the fact that we were able to move forward and have a black woman in office So that we can start having these conversations to start shutting down things such as that of diminishing those experiences Because we have to take a look at, you know, if you haven’t had that experience with a police officer, that’s great, good for you But that’s not gonna match up to somebody else

Someone else could have a completely different story and a completely different outlook And theirs is just as valid – I think one of the places we land on this is, it is almost taboo on our campus, I’m going to say, because that’s where we’re at, to admit that racism exists Or that a racist experience is happening We have to we have to spend so much time painting it different way as (mumbles) And I didn’t realize this until about halfway into my dissertation, my advisor was, I was trying to do it I was trying to say, well, this was a microaggression By the way, that just appears and it might grow And microaggression doesn’t mean small For him, it meant everyday racism And that was the precursor crit race theory We can’t admit when racism actually happens And so if we can’t do that, we can’t move forward because everything is not racism But if we can’t even say what is racism, then we can’t define what isn’t racism And that’s the space that allies have a hard time entering Because if you’re an ally, and you wanna come into the space, but you’re already a racist for being an ally, like there has to be a space for someone who is not black, to address anti blackness We can’t even say that racism is there So very, very strong words And I didn’t wanna jump in, but y’all teaching some stuff And maybe only one more to Abui, we as black administrators are black on this campus And so when we come to the table, with our concerns, with student concerns, we are still perceived as black It didn’t go away because we got degrees It didn’t go away because we got checks or positions And in all honesty, people of color the term is coined as, Jose taught us, he’s our staff, it was coined as people of color realizing that we could come together and be stronger It wasn’t a way to separate us and say, well, you’re over there and you have It was, we are people of color, guess what? When they stopped The Bracero Program at the border, they put literacy tests That’s the same thing they did to stop black people from voting That oppression is overlapping Our oppressions, they’re coming from the same sources, even some of the same policies Definitely anti blackness is strong, there’s no doubt about it I cannot even, we live it right, But racism is strong This oppression that’s lasted for a long time Right now API folk going through it, right? And sometimes we turn on each other and we attack each other’s community I think that’s why people of color is such a strength I think that’s why intersectionality is such an interesting way to look at it Because, you know what, how will we fight? And I think that systems of oppression are overlapping And I think that’s the quote that I got from intersectionality And how we dismantle them, it could be in some of the things that you’re saying And even just, you know, who came to the table today? I don’t know, everybody who’s in this room But usually it’s if you’re the choir, you’re coming to a panel about diversity and identity And if you don’t wanna talk about it, you’re not gonna come to the panel, you’re not logging into the Zoom, unless you’re forced And so even who’s gonna come to the table and listen to you and say what you feel? And at some point though, we have to be able back to the beginning to say when something is specifically racist And then maybe when it’s not, you know Just because it deals with race doesn’t mean it’s racist I think we had another question, but is there another hand? Jose did you (mumbles) – Jody, thank you for that I think Jody and I have these conversations very frequently And, you know, our fear is people will fall into the oppression Olympics, which we are pitted against each other And we have to realize, oppression is not a contest And oftentimes you can fall into that space We need to acknowledge differential experiences we may have I’m white appearing So whenever I engage in spaces, people engage with me And I get to take into that space, that white privilege And it’s a capital in which I can utilize either to help people of color and help oppressed folks Or internalize that and then believe that system is somehow right So overarching, we do have responsibility to address the larger and larger issue of white supremacy that sits above us and manages all these systems Because when we work against each other, we’re actually working in benefit of that system, right? And we’re in a higher Ed institution, we have an opportunity to learn, to engage, to debate, to put our ideas on the table and see if they hold water, right? To see that And that’s why I always tell folks, it’s best to do that To challenge yourself and challenge others in a healthy way And it may feel uncomfortable, but in the end, we’re all better for it,

for challenging and pushing And saying the things that are true to us and putting them out there And they may be difficult, but we’re gonna be in a better place after And I realize that ’cause, you know, that’s the kind of environment I hope to cultivate with The Center and the students that come in The Center, with my staff Just because I have some hierarchical power within the structure as director, doesn’t mean that my staff shouldn’t be able to challenge me on systems that may not be working for them or maybe working against students You’re all bringing up great points Thank you for your engagement – Hi, sorry I didn’t wanna cut anyone out But I just wanted to talk a little bit into what like Destiny said And like, what Abui said and a couple of points that President Hall has brought up about this town hall And I am gonna address like everything straight on I was involved in the altercation that comes to Twitter And, you know, kind of talking about the issues of like anti blackness And kind of like people of color And different kind of issues that people face as a person of color I think that and also talking about intersectionality and like what, I’m sorry I forgot (mumbles) Someone said something that really jumped out to me Just like on how unsafe you feel on campus Like as myself I identify as a person of color But no one kind of understands the journey that I was on growing up Like I was born in the Philippines, lived in Skyline, San Diego I don’t know if you guys know where that is But it’s a community of predominantly African American I grew up with African American kids I was kind of not into the culture, but I saw it I saw my friends who were scared that their father was gonna be arrested for being black I saw my friends who were scared of speaking, because they were African American But it also kind of gave me the opportunity to ask questions To ask why Like, why is it scared, ’cause I didn’t understand I spoke no English coming into America But I think now, being in the point where I am, growing up with people who are African American In high school I was raised by someone I consider my second mama, who is a Latina I understand Spanish It kind of like diversed me into the issues that all persons of color and African Americans go through And I think it’s very interesting that like, even Dr. Lykes was saying that, all this oppression is coming from one source ’cause it is And like, I really appreciated what Mr. (mumbles) I’m sorry if I’m pronouncing your last name wrong, but saying that, it’s not a contest It’s not who’s oppressed the most, it’s we’re all oppressed And I think that people, during that time of the tweets, my tweet, I’m gonna quote my tweet exactly I said that President Hall is uneducated and discrediting people of color My friends who felt offense into her statement, were telling me, no, don’t back down Like say something, say something But, and then also people ask me like, oh, now like, you won’t have a future Like people are gonna hold this tweet against you And I invite them to, I think that this (mumbles) this experience allowed me to have a conversation with Destiny on calling me out And saying, no, that was disrespectful And I agreed I 100% agreed after thinking and talking to people It was disrespectful to talk to her, to say that she was uneducated when I could have just sent her a text and keep talking, I wanna know more about that And I think a lot of people like when we’re talking about ASUN officials, are scared to speak out about these issues It’s because of things like what happened to myself And I don’t regret it because now I feel more educated with persons of color I feel more educated with African Americans, anti blackness, intersectionality, all of that stuff And I think that’s something to not be ashamed of And you know people ask me, they’re like, you know, Jiego, like you can, you’re in ASUN talking, you wanna be ASUN President What happens now? What happens in four years when someone says, you know, Jiego Lim is a racist He said this about Dominique Hall I have an explanation I have a platform to say, I got education, I talk to mentors, I talk to my friends I talk to people who go to HBCU colleges and tell me you know Jiego like, I understand where you’re coming from, but I see where also they’re coming from A lot of my friends told me, who are people of color Growing up (mumbles) in a Latino household Growing up with my parents who were immigrants, who are Filipino, who did not speak English coming into this country I was talking to my parents about this and they were like, you know, like you’re fighting for people of color And they appreciate that But it’s also kind of like taking a step back like what, there was someone has said previously And looking at the bigger perspective and kind of looking at what can you do to improve yourself? What can you do to further educate yourself? And I think that’s important to acknowledge

And I think when it comes to just addressing the first question asked Like, when did your identity make you feel unsafe on campus? A lot of times There’s times where there are people in front of me at a line speaking Spanish and talking about myself Talking how I have chinky eyes But then it’s funny because I respond back in Spanish And they’re like, like, how do you understand that? It’s kind of identifying with these different identities on campus And it’s very, it’s like those spaces where you feel unsafe And it’s those spaces where you feel like you need to be pushed forward to stand up for these people And, like I did express my apologies, and I’m here to express my apologies again Like I do apologize to President Hall, I do apologize to Destiny, to Abui and to every person who I’ve offended But I’ve also, I don’t apologize for the learning experience that I got as a person and as a leader And as someone who wants betterment for this university I witnessed President Hall talk to my church She told us how she will kind of give us a seat at the table as someone who is religious, as someone who believes in faith And I acknowledge that I admired her for that It’s very uncomfortable for someone to go into a place, a safe place, like a church to say, hey, like, I’m gonna try to advocate for you I’m gonna try to give you a seat at the table And that’s something that’s very admirable And I think that when we talk about ASUN officers, (mumbles) and how they stand with issues like racism and all these things I think that it’s time to be more educated And it’s time to, like, set those boundaries down and say, hey, like, I wanna learn, I wanna reach out But then (mumbles) like also thinking about, like society It’s like, it’s very, it’s not normal You know what I mean? It’s like, it’s not something that we usually do We don’t say hey, teach me about this ‘Cause I agree to that Like, I’ve never been like, hey, can you teach me about anti blackness until I said that tweet Until I tweeted Until Destiny co-tweeted me and responded to my terms And when till we had exchanges and direct messages I think this experience is very valuable, not just for me And it should be for everyone else, in terms of not being scared to stand up for what they believe in and get education throughout that way – Jiego – And I just – Yeah – I apologize but we’re nearing the last five minutes And I want to allow Dr. Rodriguez to,, – Yeah, of course – step in But I really appreciate your commentary and your ability to humble yourself in the learning process It’s very important part of self education and reflection – I’m gonna limit my comment I wanna say up front that I keep, I really appreciate this conversation But I think a word that’s important that we all walk away with is, I believe that many times before you can learn you have to unlearn So when I hear this conversation about ASUN as a whole, to me, we’re talking about a system, right? Systemic isms People that get elected into ASUN, just like the varied experiences on the screen, they come in at different places, in different times, (mumbles) with different levels of knowledge But it’s been my experience that in groups like that, one, first, we have to go into reflection Which I think, Jiego, really that’s what you’ve been talking about, right? The reflection And part of that has to come from an understanding that we have to unlearn before we can even get into a space where we can begin to have conversations intra and in, you know, (mumbles) across the board But I’m gonna stop there Yeah, we’re at the end I know – I mean I know Dr Lykes to speak as well, if he, you know, feels that way You know these things are not easy And this is not a easy thing to engage in And if you have a feeling of dissonance, that means that you’re in the right place, actually It means that you’re starting to, that uneasiness you feel is growth It doesn’t mean you should leave it there though, because you have to move that into something else that is about that reflective space I know that’s something I always go to Sandy to talk about to Dr. Rodriguez, because I can get caught up in that reactionary behavior And you need to be reflective in these instances, especially So please take that, you know, with you We’ve heard a lot of wonderful things from everyone today And people have offered that vulnerability And in that comes the building the foundation of trust, to have further discussions on this topic You are campus leaders, even if you don’t hold the title And so therefore, you have a responsibility to take this education into other spaces It’s not this precious thing that we hoard It’s something that we offer, right? And these communities that have been oppressed, if you are from one, you know that It’s our responsibility to burst those doors open and let other folks in And that’s the point at which we can begin

A point to depart from, not to arrive in, right? So (mumbles) Lykes – Yeah, my first thought is (mumbles) mostly an applause I dream of sitting with students who will say the things you’ve said today And most of my frustration in my role is for not having students come and say those things And start these conversations And so hopefully you will keep them going And the worst part of it is when we just put it in a box and say, well, we did our forum for an hour and we’re good We do this all day The other part is that the discomfort is much less a problem than if you stay silent, right? So discomfort in opening up this conversation is way better than if you just be quiet and just let things build and build and build And all of a sudden on campus, we’ve got tensions that we never addressed And that’s dangerous But this is discomfort that we came in and said, you know what? I might not agree with you, but I’m going to tell you And I’m gonna share and I’m gonna listen And I might agree with you So please don’t stop (mumbles) If you wanna talk to me, I’m around the corner Usually when we’re in The Center, I don’t know how we’re gonna do that social distancing But more than anything, please continue Y’all are saying the things that we got to say That’s beyond just leaders Y’all are rocking it So thank you – So I just wanted to kind of finish out the town hall by first of all thanking you all for coming today and having such a great discussion together These town halls will be recurring monthly And are meant to be proactive ways and opportunities to talk about intersectionality, gender, race and identity We will be sending out a survey to you individually so that we can improve our town halls in the future Additionally, please feel free to reach out to the ASUN Department of Diversity and Inclusion, including myself for suggestions on topics and discussions that you’d like to see in subsequent town halls Once again, thank you all for joining us today