Positions which represent minority groups on Derwent’s JCRC are under threat as plans to abolish LGBT and Access positions won a large number of votes at a recent open JCRC meeting.
The proposal, which would have seen responsibilities for minority representation handed over to college welfare reps, did not attract the percentage of votes necessary for it to be passed. The positions will stay on the committee for now.
Alexios Mantzarlis, the first-year PPE student who proposed the motion, told the JCRC that because any given LGBT representative could not identify with the full range of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, representatives’ relationships to students in need may often mirror those of straight welfare officers as it is.
He also claimed that Welfare officers are better qualified, receiving formal YUSU training in how to deal with students’ problems where LGBT and Access officers do not.
Derwent Welfare Rep Charlie Leyland disagrees. She believes the value of the JCRC is that it provides students with more access to the larger welfare system. “If it’s another face that people might feel more comfortable with, then all the better,” she said. “It’s opening up the issue.”
According to Amy Foxton, YUSU’s Academic and Welfare Officer, the fact that the LGBT position is unfilled “does not suggest the post is unnecessary – perhaps just that the responsibilities of these positions are unclear”.
Mantzarlis said “[LGBT and Access] problems seem to me like issues that can and should be tackled by Welfare Reps or YUSU officials. I don’t think there is a necessity for them at college level.”
He continued, “My proposal was notthere to offend or hurt anyone, but to cut down on JCRC inefficiencies and to actually help out people with disabilities and LGBT’s by giving qualified people the responsibility of helping them when in need.”