By Timothy Dionisopoulos, on May 17, 2013
A student's bid to become associate vice president of diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University was derailed last Wednesday over accusations that his status as a white heterosexual male would make it impossible for him to perform the position's duties.
The Wednesday hearing began with student senator Jesse Seitz reportedly asking the nominee, Stephen Piotrkowski, how he could possibly interact and serve a minority community as a white male.
Piotrkowski reportedly attempted to appeal to the Student Senate on the grounds that he identifies as a religious minority and has a lesbian sister, but it was to no avail.
After about thirty more minutes of questioning, the Senate voted to block Piotrkowski's appointment.
Ian Coley, a student on the Associate Student Government Diversity and Inclusion Committee, later said white heterosexual males are not qualified to hold the position of associate vice president of diversity and inclusion.
"This university is not ready, in any capacity, for a heterosexual white male to be in charge in any way of diversity and inclusion," said Coley, according to the Daily Northwestern.
"I don't know if any university is," he reportedly added.
However, Hayley Stevens, the outgoing associate vice president of diversity and inclusion told the Daily Northwestern she supported Piotrkowski's nomination, adding, "he was our best candidate."
An online post also indicates that Piotrkowski previously served as a member of the Northwestern Inclusion Task Force, a body created in 2012 to help advocate for diversity on campus.
Alan Cubbage, Vice President for University Relations, told Campus Reform on Wednesday the administration does not directly comment on decisions made by the SGA.
Northwestern University administrators involved in the student government process and incoming student government President Ani Ajith also did not respond to requests for comment.
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