[BGSN] Next TWO BGSN Meetings: very important, please read!

Alys Thomas thomasac at uci.edu
Thu Apr 19 12:28:07 PDT 2012

Hello everyone,

I hope that this quarter is going well for you. We will be having our next meeting, next week April 26, 6-7:00pm in the Cross Cultural Center Board Room. The meeting after that with be in mid-May (date TBD).

I have some important information for you about our next two BGSN meetings and I highly, highly encourage you to attend both of them because of 3 main affairs: 1) During next week's meeting we will be accepting candidates for new officers; 2) A ballot election will happen in May's meeting; 3) The beginning of group discussions concerning a variety of topics like current events, social activities and culture, and our influence on campus.

1) The Election Process for New Officers:
		Officer Elections Procedure Overview (not the election)

a.     Will be holding officer ballot elections in the last 20-30mins of our May meeting

b.     Positions Available (President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, Program Committee Chair)

* The President will chair all meetings of BGSN and will call special meetings as needed. The President will vote on BGSN matters only in case of a tie.

* The Vice President shall chair any ad hoc committees or task forces of the organization.

* The Secretary/Treasurer will take, record, and file meetings minutes; produce all official correspondence for the organization, and maintain records and report on the financial transactions of BGSN.

* The Program Committee Chair will direct the planning of the organizations education and social programs.

c.      Candidates will be called upon in next week's meeting and written down.  Anyone can elect themselves for any position. You can add your name to the candidate list anytime between April 26th and the day BEFORE the Elections meeting by emailing Alys directly at thomasac at uci.edu.

d.     Any member can nominate another member for a position. If he/she accepts then they will be placed on the ballot

		  e. Candidates should be prepared to speak about themselves during the Election meeting in May. This should be a very short, 5 min overview of why he/she would be  excellent for the position 				  
If there are no candidates for a position, then the position shall default to the incumbent officer. If he/she chooses not to accept the position for next year, then the position shall remain vacant until another member chooses to take it.

c.      The current President will create a ballot with all candidates.

d.     Ballot elections will be conducted following candidate presentations.

e.     A simple majority wins (win by 1 or more). A tie will result in a re-vote with those candidates.

		  f.   Write in candidates are not allowed on the ballot on the day of voting, unless that position does not have any candidates.

2) Open Discussion Portion of Next Week's Meeting:

Over these past couple of weeks there have been a variety of discussions taking place across campus and across the country concerning African-Americans. I was moved by the undergraduate BSU a few weeks ago when they held an "I AM Silent Rally" on ring road to express their feelings about violence/discrimination against African-Americans in the U.S. I took part in their cause. We silently stood blocking a portion of ring road with signs around our necks displaying phrases like "I am a token" "I am invisible on campus" "I am queer" "I am Oscar Grant" ... and so on. Racism is still alive in this country in a number of forms (no matter how subtle) and perhaps you have experienced this here at UCI or at your former institution. I'm sure you've heard about the Trayvon Martin case but this is not a rare event in our country. There are continuous occurrences of racially-induced violence, injustices, inequality, and discrimination. Perhaps some of our law students can shed more light on the logistics of this type of case.

In short, I was motivated to create opportunities for BGSN members to discuss these types of issues. I would like to have an open discussion during our next meeting. Discussions that we have within BGSN are meant to allow you to vent your thoughts and/or emotions and leave the meetings feeling relieved that you have a safe environment to vent. I hope that these talks will be beneficial to you by motivating you to volunteer more in the community and be positive role models as members of BGSN. Talks are not limited in any way to just racial concerns. Please see the list of topics below as examples of things we can discuss.

Everyone is encouraged to share experiences/personal stories and information related to any topic with the purpose of 
1) forming a comfortable, supportive, and private environment where you can openly communicate personal issues, grievances, injustices, etc. with your fellow members without fear of reprisal and
2) gain additional insight into current issues facing African-Americans both locally (UCI) and countrywide.
Every member is expected to be respectful. Negative/malicious/disrespectful language towards members will not be tolerated.

List of potential topics to discuss:

·      	Bring in a news article about a current issue to share with the group

·      	“Driving while black”

·      	Violence against black people in the U.S.

·      	Blacks in academia (e.g. black professors we personally know or that are well known, our experiences as graduate students, our TA experiences, our experiences in undergrad)

·      	Blacks in the media (e.g. black actors, actresses, musicians, news reporters, how black people our depicted in media)

·      	Black role models

·      	Comparing and contrasting our views on life and our life experiences with our parents views and experiences as well as generations younger than ours.

  ·       There are actions we can take as an organization to address campus issues like:

o   Increasing diversity in our departments

o   Increasing interest in becoming active in BGSN

o   Being positive role models on campus

o   Mentoring undergrads

o   Volunteering at UCI Graduate Division recruitment events

                  o   Volunteering for other academic and nonacademic related causes that may affect usHow we can use BGSN to change some of the those situations 

Sharing of local culture:

o   Current African American Cinema (ideas for a movie night?)

o   Best Soul Food or other ethnic food spots to try in SoCal

So, consider becoming an officer for next year and come chat with us next week. 
Our meeting agenda draft is attached.

Thank you,

Alys Thomas

PhD Candidate
Hydrology and Climate Research Group
Department of Earth System Science
Rowland Hall Rm 240M
University of California, Irvine
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