This week on Campus Insider, we sat down with Brittany Chung, the President of the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC), to talk about the organization’s progress since they were voted into the Student Executive Council (SEC) by student referendum last April.
Communication among SEC organizations
UDC has had both successes and missteps in its integration with the other SEC boards, which include Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the University Program Board, the University Media Board, the Class Officer Collective, the Interfraternity Congress (IFC) and Panhellenic Congress (PHC) and the Residence Hall Association, as well as representatives from off-the-tops Springfest, Senior Week, Homecoming and Thwing Study Over.
“With a new organization, you have to adjust how you work with other groups,” said Chung. “If you factor UDC out, other SEC orgs have their own way of communicating and doing what they do. With us in the picture now, it’s hard for the other SEC groups to understand that, while we focus on diversity and inclusion at [Case Western Reserve University], their orgs are not exempt from doing the same thing.”
One recent example was the passing of USG’s Resolution R. 25-06, titled “A Call for Focus on Racial Diversity, Inclusion, and Campus Climate.” The resolution, which passed at the March 15 general assembly meeting, is designed as a call for increasing recognition of racial discrimination and implicit bias at CWRU.
“I think our big qualm was when the resolution as being drafted, we weren’t consulted to some extent to say we know you work closely with diversity and inclusion on campus, ‘Do you have any thoughts on this this and this? Have you been working on that?’” said Chung, noting that UDC was sent the resolution before it was brought to GA, but after it was drafted. UDC’s efforts working towards diversity and inclusion were also mentioned in the wording of the resolution.
Another issue has arisen through UDC working with Greek Life to try to create a diversity and inclusion committee for Greek chapters. Headed by Arjun Gopinath, the former Vice President of Recruitment for IFC, efforts between UDC, IFC, PHC and the Greek Life Office (GLO) have been steeped in red tape, with administrative issues, including problems with finding an advisor within the GLO, stopping the program from coming into being.
“Ultimately I think we are moving in a good direction but the big issue is communication,” said Chung. “For me, in no way has the lack of communication or any issue been intentional, it’s just been a growing pain. It’s something we are always working on.”
Faculty and staff diversity efforts
Another UDC goal is increasing diversity in faculty and staff, which Chung has been working on with President Barbara R. Snyder and Vice President for Student Affairs Lou Stark. A subcommittee on the faculty senate is working on creating a survey, which is currently going through Institutional Review Board review. UDC is also working on their own survey to help assess the climate for faculty of color on campus.
UDC is preparing for this semester’s mass funding after successes last semester. Comparing their records to previous records from when their organizations were under USG, the group found that all of their groups had gotten either the same amount as they had under USG or a slight increase.
“Organizations who we spoke with said they really enjoyed the fact that they got an increase in dollar amount and they also liked the support the finance committee gave them,” said Chung.
Social media campaigns
UDC is also working on instituting an anti-prejudice campaign based on their critical conversations groups from this semester.
“The question we’re trying to figure out is do we tackle all difference biases at once or try to focus on one each semester,” said Chung. Once they decide, they will start unfurling social media campaigns focusing on specific issues like gender identity, racism and body image.
UDC is also preparing for the upcoming World Expo, which will be on March 26 from 5-8 p.m. in the Thwing Ballroom. The free event features booths from 17 student organizations, with students given tickets to get food or do activities from different cultures. Each student will get a number of free tickets when they come in, but there is also the option to buy more tickets.