Biased leaderships in clubs

In competitive environments like Diamond Bar High School, students can often be seen applying for multiple leadership positions in an effort to stand out in college applications. However, with positions that are bolstered by pre-existing connections with people on leadership boards, many students are given placements that they might not deserve.

Nepotism in school leadership is not a new concept, but it is becoming a more serious problem as the standards for college application increase. Consequently, students may not be qualified to serve in their positions, diminishing the quality of a club and making it based on popularity rather than merit. 

This bias with which students are chosen can reap serious consequences. The unfairly elected individuals may not have a passion for a club or be knowledgeable about how an organization functions, which undermines the students that are passionate about that group and consistently work hard for their positions. What results are clubs that are no longer structured, led by board members who meet occasionally, plan far fewer events and put in minimal work compared to previous years. 

Additionally, having a more diverse board is beneficial to these organizations; by selecting students who are qualified for their positions, a leadership board becomes more representative of its other members and can increase its reach as new leaders may provide fresh perspectives and ideas for a group to excel. 

But benefits aside, the end result of nepotism is simply unfair; students who are actually interested in a club or genuinely enjoy participating may be denied positions if they do not have the right connections. Thus, they have a lower chance of being a leader in the activities they love, simply due to a lack of relations– leading to increased opportunities for underqualified individuals with friends in higher positions. 

Developing a holistic approach to applications would solve many of these problems. For one, advisers can be actively involved in the application process, instead of just students, in order to ensure that applicants are provided with equal opportunity. Even though it’s good to give students a voice in these matters, advisers should step in whenever they notice unfairness in the group. 

To further improve the process, all board members can meet together to discuss the quality of applicants instead of just the president or vice president. This will guarantee that everyone in the group agrees with a decision, instead of one or two deciding everything which, in turn, ensures that board members will get along with the new recruits and work well with them. Although there are already clubs on campus that utilize this approach, it isn’t widespread and clubs that don’t use this still suffer from nepotism.

So, next time officer applications come around, school organizations should consider restructuring their systems as it is in their best interest that everyone gets an equal chance at obtaining leadership positions.