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Council Supports Diversity Day

By Laura E. Rosenbaum

After extensive debate, the Undergraduate Council voted last night to support a "Day of Awareness of Diversity" on April 21.

"The percentage of women and minorities in the Faculty is really dismal," said council President and bill co-sponsor Lamelle D. Rawlins '99. "What we're trying to say is 'Think about what that means for your education.'"

The event will include informational picketing outside University Hall and placing tables outside the Science Center with statistics and postcards for students to send to the administration expressing their views.

Opponents said the council was not simply promoting awareness, but taking a strong stance on the issue of Faculty and curricular diversity--arguing that it was an inappropriate role for the council.

The event will be co-sponsored by 13 other campus organizations including the Radcliffe Union of Students, the Black Students' Association, Latinas Unidas and the Asian American Association.

In addition, the council unanimously voted to sponsor an end-of-the-year charity drive to collect clothing, soap and toys for a local homeless shelter.

From May 20 to 25, event coordinators will ask students to donate rather than dispose of old items as they pack for the summer.

"You get to toss out things you can't fit in your suitcase, and you're giving people things they really need," said legislation co-sponsor and council guest Elizabeth A. Haynes '98.

The collected items will be donated to the Pine Street Inn, a local shelter that provides job training, drug rehabilitation and food to homeless men, women and children.

"They provide a full range of services to allow people to leave their situation and no longer be home-less," Haynes said.

According to Haynes, clothing and toiletries are especially valuable to those at the Inn who are searching for jobs but do not own the proper attire for interviews or work.

"The things we will be encouraging people to give would have worth far beyond their dollar value," Haynes said, referring to the potential of the clothing to help people find work.

In other business, the council discussed a constitutional amendment that would add "mental illnesses and disorders" to the non-discrimination clause. The bill would also encourage the College and University to add the same terms to their respective non-discrimination clauses.

The final vote on the bill has not yet been determined. At press time, the bill had 47 yes votes, 1 no and 5 abstentions. At least 64 votes are needed to pass the amendment.

Bill co-sponsors Jeremy R. Jenkins'97 and Robert S. Schwartz'00 told the Council that the bill is necessary because many mentally ill students on campus fear the potential ramifications if the administration becomes aware of their illness.

According to Jenkins, who is cochair of the Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy group, incoming first-years who are known to have mental illnesses, such as severe depression, may be automatically placed in single rooms. These students are denied the opportunity to live with a roommate.

"We want changes made because the current situation is unacceptable," Jenkins said.

The final vote on the amendment, which was inspired by the recent amendment regarding transgendered individuals, should be available later this week

"They provide a full range of services to allow people to leave their situation and no longer be home-less," Haynes said.

According to Haynes, clothing and toiletries are especially valuable to those at the Inn who are searching for jobs but do not own the proper attire for interviews or work.

"The things we will be encouraging people to give would have worth far beyond their dollar value," Haynes said, referring to the potential of the clothing to help people find work.

In other business, the council discussed a constitutional amendment that would add "mental illnesses and disorders" to the non-discrimination clause. The bill would also encourage the College and University to add the same terms to their respective non-discrimination clauses.

The final vote on the bill has not yet been determined. At press time, the bill had 47 yes votes, 1 no and 5 abstentions. At least 64 votes are needed to pass the amendment.

Bill co-sponsors Jeremy R. Jenkins'97 and Robert S. Schwartz'00 told the Council that the bill is necessary because many mentally ill students on campus fear the potential ramifications if the administration becomes aware of their illness.

According to Jenkins, who is cochair of the Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy group, incoming first-years who are known to have mental illnesses, such as severe depression, may be automatically placed in single rooms. These students are denied the opportunity to live with a roommate.

"We want changes made because the current situation is unacceptable," Jenkins said.

The final vote on the amendment, which was inspired by the recent amendment regarding transgendered individuals, should be available later this week

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