To the editor,
We are writing this letter in response to how our campus has failed to fully support diversity groups that aim to enrich the community. After much thought regarding the systems in place to ensure that diversity-based groups succeed in their goals of enhancing the campus’ culture, we believe that the campus community is not doing enough. We would like to propose that an additional student board be created to oversee the activities of diversity-oriented groups. This student board would cater to the needs of diversity-oriented organizations and would be added as one of the organizations that represent the diverse populations on our campus on the Student Executive Council (SEC). There are several reasons why we believe that such a group is necessary:
1. The Undergraduate Student Government is unable to properly allocate funding to diversity organizations, as they do not have a good grasp on their needs. For example, the funding of only three events per semester puts a large limit on diversity programming and the programs that do get funding are not the ones that generate a campus wide impact. With the installation of a diversity board, there will be greater ability to access the needs and resources of these groups. Therefore, more knowledgeable and equal funding allocations would be made to groups under this board’s supervision.
2. The installation of a diversity board would create a permanent and sustainable group that will continue to work on diversity and inclusion issues in order to improve the campus climate. Although there are several committees that are currently working on diversity and inclusion issues on campus, these groups are only temporary and do not fully address the problem. Diversity is fluid, constantly changing and requires an ongoing group to ensure the positive campus climate continues.
3. In light of fall 2014’s diversity and inclusion issues on campus, it is a necessity that minority groups have proper representation on SEC. There needs to be a level of relevance on SEC regarding diversity-oriented groups and the work that they do. It is hard for someone who does not have a thorough understanding of our experiences to know what we need, how to go about solving or alleviating any of the issues we face or even knowing what the real issue is. The current representatives can attest to the problems their particular groups face, but we as students of diversity-centered organizations do not have anyone to speak on our behalf. Our voices get lost in the mix of larger groups.
4. To demonstrate our university’s commitment to promoting a diverse and inclusive community, there should be a group that focuses solely on this area. This would allow the board to focus on diversity issues, unlike other groups who have several concerns. By designating one group to oversee student-based diversity initiatives, we will be showing alumni, the community and the nation that Case Western Reserve University is truly committed to diversity and inclusion.
5. Prospective students and their families will feel more welcome, particularly students from culturally and religiously diverse backgrounds. An undergraduate diversity board shows that CWRU will be a home away from home, somewhere students can grow not only as scholars, but also as agents of social change by becoming engaged in our community.
6. The overall CWRU experience will be enhanced through the enriching educational programs that our groups host. Students will benefit from learning more about people from different backgrounds. This can only be an asset in the global economy most of us will encounter in our professional lives.
The creation of an undergraduate diversity board is crucial to the advancement of the university’s goals in fostering an inclusive environment. Such action will demonstrate that CWRU will not tolerate an environment of discrimination or hatred. We are calling upon the SEC, administrators and the undergraduate population to support this proposal. It is my hope that this board will be established before the 2015-2016 academic cycle so we can all begin our journey towards instituting positive, sustainable change within our society.
Brittany Chung, junior, and Precious Amoako, senior
Correction: A typo in the last sentence has been corrected (“am” changed to “are”). The Observer apologizes for the error; it was a mistake from our editing, not the letter writers.