At Clemson University in South Carolina, an administrator is suggesting student government candidates should pass an “intercultural competency” test before holding — and perhaps even running for — office.
Altheia Richardson, Clemson’s director of the Gantt Multicultural Center, proposed the “intercultural competency” test requirement while giving a presentation to the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) Senate.
Richardson told the student senators, “So, when it comes to this whole idea of intercultural competence, what would it look like to have a standard for … if you’re going to be elected as an officer, or hold a seat within CUSG, that you have to demonstrate that you have a certain level of intercultural competence before you’re allowed to take that office or that seat.”
When asked to elaborate on an intercultural competence standard, Richardson said, “It could be training, workshops, things like that. It could look very different, but it was just a suggestion that I made to some of the folks that came to me.”
One CUSG senator wondered what would happen if an elected official did not pass the required test, and asked if Richardson was implying that people who have been elected democratically may not be allowed to serve their peers “because of a certain level they don’t reach in certain areas.”
Richardson replied to the inquiry, stating, “Well, it could happen before the democratic election process. If that is set by your Elections Board as a standard, then if you’re vetting the candidates who are running, then it can happen even before the democratic process takes place.”
When speaking about her initiative to Campus Reform, Richardson said she believes intercultural competence is an area that would create “opportunities for further growth and development” for CUSG representatives.
However, many members of the CUSG Senate did not agree.
CUSG senator Samuel Thompson fired back, “Vetting the candidates ideologically before elections even happen, through a process of measuring their level of commitment to ‘inclusivity’ and ‘multiculturalism,’ represents a kind of creepy totalitarianism that has no place at a true university.”
He added, “It reminds me of the kind of political totalitarianism that one sees in modern-day fascist and communist regimes. The purpose of having a student government is so that ALL views of students are represented—not just the ones that fit your ideology.”
Another CUSG senator, Matt Phillips, stated, “Clemson needs to decide exactly the kind of school it wants to be. Will we allow students of all opinions to be represented, or do we believe our agenda is more important? If we choose the latter, we compromise everything we say we stand for.”
“This idea is an awful [one] and completely negates the idea of a democratic election,” said another student senator.
See the event at Clemson unfold below:
H/T: Campus Reform
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