Editorial: Pick a Topic: SOCHUM’s Slow Topic Selection

PHOTO BY EMILY C. SCHEPPEGRELL — SOCHUM votes on its first topic of discussion. 

By EMILY C. SCHEPPEGRELL, Times of India

The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) commenced today in Grand Ballroom A. Despite having three hours, the committee barely got through topic selection, between Topic A, The Rights of Linguistic Minorities, and Topic B, Asylum For LGBTQ Individuals Fleeing Persecution. Numerous points of order only served to create more confusion in the committee. Moderator Andrew Chang did his best to answer questions while encouraging delegates to continue with procedures. “It would be easier for everyone if we set a topic as soon as possible,” Chang observed, but the questions from delegates did not stop.

Did some delegates miss the MUN for First Timers session earlier? At last delegates began to debate topic selection. Speakers for and against stood up and contrasted each other again and again. Moderator Chang repeatedly asked for more speakers on the topic. Nations such as Nigeria stated, “We did not discuss this enough” and pushed for further speaking on topic selection, while other nations were ready to move on to the real caucusing and discussion. Yet further speakers were selected for and against.

Not to beleaguer the importance of dialogue, as some important topics were brought up, but delegates should keep in mind that they only have one weekend to create a resolution to solve issues. Some of the essential questions asked about topics involved whether a topic was simply a domestic or an international issue and whether the LGBTQ asylum seekers topic covered the rights of native countries or only countries offering asylum. This was clarified by the chair as covering countries offering asylum and not involving native countries these individuals were fleeing from. After the delegate from Portugal finished their speech on which topic should be first, it seemed the committee was ready to move on. But then, Chang said, “now I’ll be taking two more speakers for.” Here we go again.

At this point, Times of India departed from the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee to visit another committee. When returning after 30-45 minutes, Times of India found SOCHUM was still discussing topic selection. A motion to close debate on Topic B was suggested and a flurry of placards flew into the air. Delegates were ready to move on. A motion to continue discussion was suggested and Chang stated, “If you could all just vote on a topic, that would be great.,” reminding the committee they had less than an hour left.

SOCHUM at last voted upon a topic (Topic A: the Rights of Linguistic Minorities) but this serves as a lesson for future sessions. Delegates only have one weekend, six sessions, around 18 hours to come together and form resolutions that cohesively address their topics. Time cannot be wasted if SOCHUM wants to fully handle the points of their topics. Better luck next session, delegates.

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