The purpose of this policy is to complement the BSC mission statement of providing a “quality, low-cost, cooperative housing community to university students, thereby providing an educational opportunity for students who might not otherwise be able to afford a university education,” specifically to increase the recruitment, access, and retention of underrepresented students in the BSC by promoting anti-oppression in all BSC spaces, from the central level to the unit level.
All uses of the words “anti-oppression” representing or in line with this policy refer to an integrated anti-oppression framework, or equity framework, which seeks to rebuild existing systems to challenge power dynamics that derive from those systems, so that everyone shares the benefits and opportunities. This process involves an active redistribution of resources that responds to historical dispossession, deprivation, and marginalization of oppressed groups. An integrated anti-oppression model looks at all the ways people can experience oppression and marginalization, including interlocking and intersecting oppression. This approach encourages us not to make assumptions about group identity. It emphasizes that people who share a group identity may or may not have similar characteristics and lived experiences. It also insists that the dominant group recognize the power of its own social location(s) and how that power results in societal privilege and benefit to the exclusion of marginalized people. Integrated anti-oppression reminds us that challenging oppression requires a long-term process of learning, unlearning, and working with each other to build new equitable systems.
The following are principles that guide the integrated anti-oppression model:
- A. Society operates within a socially constructed hierarchy of difference where some people are valued and privileged and others are marginalized and exploited.
- B. People do not belong to just one category or social location. Identities are complex and multiple; fluid rather than fixed. As a result we can be both victims and perpetrators of oppression. We often re-create the relations of social power and control that also oppress us.
- C. The ideas, thoughts and beliefs of people who “belong” to groups that are highest on the social hierarchy create “dominant culture”. Dominant culture becomes the standard or norm by which everyone is compared.
- D. People who are members of privileged groups have the power to control access to resources and information. This perpetuates the cycle of power and oppression for people who are not members of these groups. People who are marginalized and exploited experience limited access to the power to shape their own past, present and future.
- E. Not everyone from the same social group has the same experiences because people have many different lived experiences. When people have multiple marginalized identities, they do not merely face extra barriers; their lived experience is entirely different.
- F. Integrated anti-oppression work requires that individuals accept responsibility for their role in perpetrating oppression both interpersonally and systemically. To bring about change, individuals and systems must be changed.
BSC Attitude Towards Anti-Oppression
As a 501(c) nonprofit that aims to serve students who would not be able to attain an education without affordable housing, the BSC recognizes that low-income students are connected to and shaped by diverse identities and contexts that are affected by a variety of systems of power. These systems are organized by respectively hierarchized categories such as race, gender, class, age, ability, sexuality, legal status, nationality, and other social realms. The mission of the BSC seeks to transform oppressive systems by creating affordable, anti-oppressive living spaces where underrepresented students can feel safer, grow personally and collectively, and thrive in academic and extracurricular engagements. It is only by establishing a commitment to anti-oppression that the BSC can retain underrepresented students in a climate and space specifically tailored by and for underrepresented students.
Management and Leadership at the House and Central Level
All BSC leadership that include, but shall not be limited to: student executives, board directors, unit-level managers, central-level student staff, and staff must uphold an integrative anti-oppression framework in carrying out their responsibilities and shaping their working and living spaces. Those who are applying or running for a leadership position and/or a position in the BSC, must be aware of the anti-oppression policy of the BSC and commit to actively bring it into their work.
Member Education and Resources
All BSC members and staff who work on any form of education and training program should incorporate an anti-oppressive framework. Introduction, development, and application of anti-oppressive frameworks should apply to:
- A. All new member orientations
- B. All manager and staff training, specifically related and applied to their job responsibilities
- C. All member professional development workshops
BSC Policy and Practice
When writing policy and designing policy execution, all standing committees (and task forces) and staff should have an anti-oppression framework that allows space for analysis, multiple perspectives, equity, problem troubleshooting and solutions that at best avoid perpetuating the systems of white supremacy, capitalism, and cis-heteropatriarchy that undermine the dignity and freedom of oppressed people everyday.
[Board approved 4/16/15.]