On April 16, the Student Government Association (SGA), mentioned at their Town Hall Meeting that the organization intends to improve “diversity programming” on campus.
SGA President Rishi Shah explained the organization’s plans.
“Diversity programming is not just having more events, rather, it is the idea of creating a more open-minded, informed and connected campus,” Shah wrote in an email.
Shah shared what diversity programming looks like on campus.
“This is done through peer to peer interaction, better-informed professors, faculty, and administration along with having campus-wide events,” he said.
Students on campus voiced their concerns about how much diversity is reflected in campus-wide organizations and programs.
“I don’t think diversity is represented enough on campus,” Madeline Pfaff, a sophomore majoring in elementary and special education and English, explained via email.
“Many groups such as FLASH or mulitcultural greek organizations only get attention when something negative happens and people rally to them as a form of support. Their events should be broadcasted better the campus,” she continued.
Pfaff also finds that varying sexual orientations and gender identities deserve better representation on campus.
“I’m aware that we have an LGBTQA+ club/organization on campus, but that is only because I have a friend who is in it. If not, I would have no idea of the small group of people trying to support everyone in their sexuality and identities,” she said. “The school should put in the effort to host events sponsored by these organizations, which can include speakers or fundraisers. Without a big support from the school, it can be very difficult for organizations to get their names out there.”
Denise Donnelly, a senior biology major, had similar sentiments about the university’s efforts regarding students’ races as well as sexual orientations and identities.
“When it comes to diversity, I think they’re trying their best, but it does seem they’re out of touch. I feel as if it’s almost like a generational gap,” she said. “I feel like they’ve tried a lot more, but I know there were a lot of issues with people on campus who felt marginalized and they tried having those discussions about race. It seemed good in theory, but it didn’t seem like it was executed well.”
Donnelly believes that the University has good intentions in their efforts to showcase student diversity, but that these programs need greater awareness.
“I think the good intention is there, but I wouldn’t say the execution quite is,” she said. “They’re definitely trying with programming, but the race and LGBT stuff just is not there because of the Catholic mission.”
Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services, wrote in an email that the University is preparing an “Inclusion Committee” for the upcoming academic year to ensure a campus that represents and reflects its diversity.
“We are convening a university-wide Inclusion Committee for the upcoming academic year. The committee will include students, faculty and administrators and perhaps an outside representative,” Gottlieb said.
The committee will directly respond to students’ observations and interactions with diversity on campus.
“Dr. Boroff, our provost, has taken the lead on this. This committee will be charged with administering and evaluating the results of a diversity climate survey on campus,” she said. “We anticipate that the committee will then make recommendations to make the campus more welcoming to all.”
Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.