As close as the idea of democracy lies to many of our hearts, most of us will readily admit that taking the time to vote on every issue within a student organization would make it almost impossible to get anything done.
But at least one new group on campus does believe that students deserve to have a greater role within their organizations.
No Organization Without Representation (NOWR) was formed in response to a recent decision by SpectrUM’s executive board to change SpectrUM’s name to UPride. Indignant members came together under the name NOWR to push for the public forum they feel this issue deserves.
“Our aim is to have a vote,” said an anonymous source affiliated with NOWR. “Leaders are necessary, but they should represent the people. An organization needs to move together as a whole.”
The situation suggests that, although club officials are presumably elected for their ability to act in the club’s best interests, a certain degree of direct participation by students is necessary to ensure the accurate representation of its membership.
Particularly, clubs with a larger social or political impact must put significant thought into their policy changes, however innocuous these changes may appear at first. By choosing to belong to a certain group, a person makes a statement that his own beliefs are in alignment with those of the group. Even an action as seemingly simple as a name change can alter the way those beliefs are portrayed to the world and risk misrepresenting members.
Ultimately, organizations as a whole should strive to ensure that their members are represented in every way that counts, amplifying student voices rather than drowning them out.
Yet students do not need to rely on established systems to make themselves heard. Grassroots movements like NOWR should serve as a reminder that the ability to advocate one’s beliefs does not hinge solely on existing and established organizations, or even on university approval.
Whatever the outcome of NOWR’s anticipated SpectrUM/UPride vote, our source believes members will be satisfied with the chance to speak their minds.
“This is our organization, and we really care about it,” she said.
Perhaps we should all try to benefit from the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from admitting and showing that we care.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.