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“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

“A life without cause is a life without effect.”

Dear Readers,

There is some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that my proposal regarding the hate crime incident (read here) was actually seen by the lawyer or someway listened to because the administrative review and grievance procedures have changed (You can read the new one here).  Only small parts of our proposal/arguments were listened to but at least the changes are one small step in the right direction.  At least I can say and know that my efforts and persistence paid off.

The bad news is that this is my last post.  If anyone still wants their story published I will off course do so and if anyone wants to take the reins, I am more than willing to hand them over.

I hope this blog has been informative and helpful.  I also hope that I will not be judged to harshly.

Please check out the ‘Last Projects’ Tab above or by clicking here.  I have also put some links to articles I have written in that tab here:

1.  How to Ensure your Student Rights in a Foreign Country

2. Partial Lock on Tuition Idea

3. Having Vegetarian Options at the Caf

Best wishes to you in the next year and may you be at peace,

MD C

Related Articles

As mentioned in earlier posts (click here), the Diversity Council at some point was intended to replace the SGA.  The smaller organizations were often getting the shaft and student concerns were often tabled or brushed aside.  But, within the DC, students and teachers were split on the topic.  A lot of people were tired of not being recognized and did not feel we could ever supplant the SGA.  They worried that no one would support us in that endeavor.  Others, myself included, felt that if we joined SGA we would never realize our potential; that we would be shackled to a meager or ineffective student government.  Worst of all, we would have to start playing by their rules.

Before we became part of SGA there was no one telling us what we could or could not do.  Yes, the school often denied us certain privileges and the administration would often hassle our supporters when they/we booked a room for an event.  But, the rooms always got booked and we held our events regardless.  We did not have to kowtow to the administration or SGA.  We did not have to report every single event we did to the Deans and SGA (which everyone has to do this now).  We could have as many faculty sponsors as we want and have whatever structure/mission we want.  Basically, we didn’t have to report to anyone or have fear of anyone looking over our shoulder.

However, when we decided to go ahead and become recognized by the SGA I made a mistake.  I did not stand my ground and form a good enough argument.  Plus, I had spoken with majority of the members of the Council and they wanted to be under SGA.  I wasn’t about to become like the SGA and find some way to brush it aside.

At the time all this was playing out we were working for recognition alongside BGLAM (Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, Allies in Medicine).  Once Dr. Testa shared with them how to become recognized, they shared it with us and we applied for recognition under SGA.  When we went before the SGA we ended up being grilled by SGA members, even our own supporters.    People were worried that we were going to supplant SGA, that we were a political organization and they questioned our legitimacy.  It was funny since we had put on some of the most successful events and were the most active organization on campus, but we were still questioned for almost a half hour.  I did most of the talking and I suppose I was able to put forward a good argument because we ended up being recognized.

Getting recognition was definitely a victory for those of us who started the DC such as chanell, sana, moonmoon, binta, joe, dave, mike and myself.  We were really excited.  Unfortunately, the good feelings didn’t last because when we tried booking a room for St. Maarten day (a national holiday for St. Maarten, day off from school), we ran into the usual problems.  We were only allowed to use a certain minute part of the courtyard.  Plus, we were denied use of a lawn in front of the school, which no one ever uses especially on holiday when no one is at school.  Fortunately, we were able to get use of the lawn last second and we held the event.  After this, I knew even then that becoming part of SGA had been a mistake because it felt like nothing changed.

Perhaps becoming part of SGA ensured that the DC would continue after I left but I admit now that the DC of today is not the DC we created.  Not by a long shot.  For the first executive board and myself, the DC was the most important organization at AUC and we put a 110% into the organization.  Having watched the two executive boards that followed, I can say that progress is being made.  I can only hope that the DC will have more than just one meeting a semester and that it will once again become the most active organization on campus.  Mostly, I hope they continue to educate and discuss with students health disparities and cultural competency.

What do you think? Do you think the Diversity Council should have joined the Student Government??  Do you think health disparities or cultural competency is a big deal???

Dear Reader,

Although I am on a Study break and on vacation from writing, I want to share the highlights of whats happened so far at AUC (American University of the Caribbean).  Most importantly, I want people to know that my posts often need to be read in a certain order, which I will be putting up below.  Also, from now on at the bottom of most of my posts I will have a link to the related posts before and after it.

Hate Crime Incident

1. It’s Not Safe at AUC

2. AUC’s Response to Hate Crime and the Logical Question

3. Final Products – Check it Out

4. Big Meeting Tomorrow

5. October Secret Meeting

6. Abusing American Medical Students in the Name of Business

Lesser Known Truths @ AUC

1. Living without Fear, Regrets and Secret Insurance Deals

2. Taking Everything for Granted

Student Stories

1. A Call for Transparency

2. So you have Asthma

Don’t forget to keep me in mind this Friday when I am destroying my comprehensive exam.  Any positive thoughts or prayers would be much appreciated!

May you be at peace,

MD C.

Picture Courtesy of cartoonstock.com

Last Thursday, November 4th, the president of BGLAM and I held a not-so-secret meeting with the Dean of Basic Sciences at the American University of the Caribbean, Dr. Ron Testa, over the BGLAM Hate Crime Prevention Proposal (to read everything click here) in regards to this semesters hate crime.  Oddly, we were not told why Dr. Stroschein, Dean of Student Affairs, was elsewhere and we did not ask why.  Over the course of the meeting, we had Dr. Testa’s attention at first, but he  made it clear that he only wanted to only make small, one word amendments to the Administrative Review Procedures and did not care for the rest of the proposal.  He also lamented, “I know there is a underreporting of harrassment at this school and I do not know how to fix it”.

As we went through the proposal Dr. Testa did not even comment on our request for a mandatory anti-hate crime session which is recommended by the US Department of Education. He completely disregarded the first point of the proposal asking for stronger punishments involving harassment, hate crimes, violent crimes, and forcible/non-forcible sex offenses that American laws such as the Matthew Shepard Act demand.  He did however listen to our argument on anonymity/confidentiality of the accuser (currently the AUC administration must ‘promptly inform the accused’, even if the accuser asks for confidentiality – this is illegal according to FERPA). He decided he would consider this change on a case by case basis.  Furthermore, Dr. Testa also listened and seemed willing to change a rule to allow automatic administrative review when students are harassed or their well being is challenged (currently this allowance is only made when sexual harrasment occurs). Unfortunately, after this he completely disregarded all other parts of the proposal (which are dictated by the Office of Civil Rights letter on Title IX, to read click here).  When asked about the interviewing policy at AUC Dr. Testa said the school should interview students, because AUC is a Medical School.  But, then he said that AUC is a “business” and that AUC is, “not now or in the future considering changing this policy”.  He also stated that the school will continue the practice of accepting anyone with a “27 MCAT and a 3.2 GPA and good letters of recommendation”.

As we argued with him over the merits of having some form of interview, whether by phone or whatever, he told us very annoyed that, “it’s not under my control”.  After this he threw up his hands and declared that our proposition was far too “legalistic”, that his administration’s response to the hate crime would be far more effective. He told us as we were leaving that, although we would not be on island to see AUC change, the school was going to deal with this matter.

I strongly beg to differ on this point, but more importantly, what do you think?  Will holding a NON-mandatory session on hate crimes by AUC’s wellness counselor be effective?  Is assigning a task force to investigate a new course on professionalism by itself more effective then BGLAM’s recommendations?  Should more be done? Please comment below.  Anonymity is allowed :).

May you be at peace.

(courtesy of http://www.cartoonstock.com)

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Purpose of this Blog

This blog is an account of past and present struggles at the American University of the Caribbean Medical School (AUC). My colleagues and I endeavored to make our Caribbean Medical School more progressive and supportive of all its students. We worked against an administration and student government to end marginalization of students and fight ignorance. When all was said and done, the administration at AUC claimed that they had single handily brought more diversity to AUC. It's time to share the whole story.

This is the story of those that fought for progress, stood up to AUC's administration/SGA and, just sometimes, won.

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