USG considers oath of Inclusion initiative to promote multiculturalism

Kevin Smith, Opinion Editor

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is considering passing an initiative that would introduce an Oath of Inclusion to Case Western Reserve University’s campus. While the actual oath has not yet been drafted, both individuals and organizations would have the option of taking the oath to show their commitment to diversity and inclusion. The initiative has been discussed with administrators including the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Naomi Sigg, the Vice President of Student Affairs, Lou Stark, and the Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity, Marilyn Mobley.

Despite being listed as an initiative since at least 2014, the Oath of Inclusion still remains at its beginning stages. In the past, it was stalled due to its large scope. Currently, the initiative is moving forward under USG Vice President of Student Life Ivy Petsinger. According to Petsinger, there has been no proposed language for the oath as there is no full set of student responses as of yet, which needs to be gathered in order to move the initiative further to become a resolution.

“There is no proposed language yet and not all of the potential partners have yet been identified,” Petsinger said. “However, I have reached out to the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative to see if they are interested in pursuing this as a joint initiative to which they expressed interest.”

The initiative would not only include the Oath of Inclusion; it would also include a task force that would contain individuals and organizations who align with the values of multiculturalism.

According to Petsinger, there will potentially be two parts of the initiative. The first one is the specific language of the oath that will be voluntarily taken by students.

“This would almost certainly not be a mandatory oath, but rather give community members the choice to purposefully commit themselves to specific language to uphold inclusiveness at Case Western Reserve,” said Petsinger.

The initiative also works towards a second goal: creating a website dedicated to the oath of inclusion and multiculturalism on campus promoted through learning. This prong of the initiative was inspired by Saint Louis University’s own Oath of Inclusion initiative, where their website dedicated to diversity and inclusion takes a firm stance against bias, hate crimes and racism.

“This would highlight all of the efforts of diversity and inclusion here at our University,” Petsinger said.

Other organizations and programs that have been formed for promoting diversity include Diversity 360, Safe Zone training and the Bias Reporting System. The website would serve as a central spot for these organizations, where students can see all the efforts of those at CWRU dedicated to multiculturalism.
“Multiculturalism is not just important to student life, but is a defining factor of student life at CWRU,” said Petsinger. “The wide array of perspectives and backgrounds enriches the lives of everyone in this community.”