MIBU announces new organizational structure
By Henry Smalley
On Nov. 15, 2022, the University of Puget Sound’s Multi-Identity Based Union (MIBU) held their ‘22-’23 introductory presentation in Upper Marshall Hall. The presentation was hosted by Kellen Hagans, MIBU facilitative chair and BSU president, and Chloe Pargmann, ASUPS Director of Inclusion and Justice, with the goals of updating the student body on progress made on the 2021 MIBU demands as well as sharing changes and plans for improvement moving forward.
MIBU is a coalition of identity-based clubs on campus. It acts as a way for students of marginalized identities to form a community as well as a centralized system for activism and advocacy on campus. MIBU was founded in March 2021 when members presented a list of demands, now known as the MIBU demands, to the University of Puget Sound Administration. The MIBU demands are a series of 13 demands which aim to address the needs of minority communities on campus in the face of a widespread perception of systemic hostility towards marginalized students. These demands are not the first set of demands made by an activist group on campus. The 2008 CAIR demands and the 2015 AIC demands, which were both demands released by student groups prior to MIBU, were sent to the University with similar goals in mind but were never fully met by the University, leading to the need for a new set of definitive, final demands. According to Hagans, the MIBU demands were “meant to be the last set of demands” and were written to be as all-encompassing as possible in regards to addressing oppression and inequity on campus.
Hagans and Pargmann spent much of the presentation giving attendees a recap of the MIBU demands and an update on the most recent responses from the University. Most demands remain contested or unmet by the University and the presenters made it clear that MIBU remains generally unsatisfied with University’s response, although some progress has been made. For a more comprehensive look into the demands and an update on the University’s response, visit the MIBU linktree using the QR code below.
Hagans and Pargmann made a point to address some of the issues MIBU has had in the past as well as present the changes they are making to remedy them. To start, they mentioned that there has been a lot of pressure on individual MIBU members, particularly students of color, to act as community leaders and activists. Hagans made a point to apologize to students of color for any anxiety they may have felt to join MIBU. “There is no requirement for you to be a part of MIBU or to protest for MIBU,” Hagans said. He adds that it was often white-presenting people leading these protests, a form of activism which is much safer for them than for students who did not present as white. As this could be a deterrent or cause of anxiety for students of color, the union wishes to move towards other forms of activism which can be more safely led by students of color.
As they de-emphasized protests, the presenters spoke of other plans to help alleviate the pressure on MIBU members and create other ways to help marginalized groups on campus. To help ease the pressure, Hagans said that they plan to “focus on creating a community of leaders instead of people leading the community.” They explained that they plan on spreading out responsibility within the organization by electing chair people to lead multiple groups of members on specific projects. These projects can either be activistic or community-oriented, another new development to their structure. MIBU has, in recent years, acted mostly as an activist organization. This year, they hope that their new structure will allow them the space to work on community events without having to let up on their activism. They plan to spend more energy on simply creating fun and safe spaces for marginalized students. “MIBU used to be fun,” Hagans said, and they are hoping that their new community chair positions will help make it fun again.
For more information, contact MIBU@ pugetsound.edu