Diplomacy Senators Must Represent Diplomacy’s Values

As the School of Diplomacy’s newspaper of record, The Diplomatic Envoy does not take lightly the responsibility of providing our community with balanced, well-researched information. We are proud that our staff is diverse both in background and in perspective. And so as not to discourage this diversity of viewpoints, the paper’s leadership has so far abstained from expressing our collective opinion through editorials.

The Editorial Board cannot, in good conscience, stay silent now.

We applaud the Senate of the Student Government Association for drafting and passing a resolution rejecting President Trump’s discriminatory ban on immigration, and for pressing the university to protect immigrant students. Sadly, the abstention of our senators, Michael Roma and Matthew Schaller, was a misrepresentation of the School of Diplomacy.

As a professional school of international relations, we hold the United Nations in high regard and believe in the organization’s most cherished values: multilateralism, diversity, and inclusion. Altogether, 25 countries are represented by our faculty and student body, many of whom are immigrants, the children of immigrants, and international students. Most important, the Editorial Board believes that the School of Diplomacy we love and serve is a community that not only stands for the basic human rights of all, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, or religion, but also stands up when those rights are threatened.

Therefore we expect our elected senators to faithfully represent the School of Diplomacy’s values to the university. In a statement to the Envoy, Senator Roma said he abstained to protect his current and future federal employment, and to obey the Hatch Act of 1939, which prohibits “engaging in some forms of political activity.” According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Hatch Act places restrictions on political activity “directed at the success or failure of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan election.” The SGA resolution, which expressed disapproval of a federal policy and was largely directed at the university administration, was a nonpartisan student initiative wholly unrelated to a partisan election, leaving Senator Roma with no conflict of interest.

The abstention of both Senators Roma and Schaller placed political bias and ambition over the values of our community. The senators should have taken a cue from the letter sent on November 11, 2016, by the Dean and the faculty reassuring students that the School will continue to welcome individuals of all backgrounds and “uphold our proud tradition of diversity and inclusion.”

But what more can we expect from two senators who have failed to attend a single D.U.L.C.E. meeting or the Diplomacy Town Hall this year? Previous Business senators worked with their dean to acquire more seating in Jubilee Hall lounges. Senators from the College of Arts and Sciences represented their classmates on the committee that selected their new dean. Yet our Diplomacy senators rarely, if ever, attend the monthly meetings that would allow them to know and understand their constituents.

It now falls on Diplomacy students to rectify this situation and elect candidates in the upcoming SGA elections who will fairly and accurately represent our community — candidates who know that our values and interests are worth more than a line on their résumés.

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