Senate Beat: Feb 26, 2020

Introducing the Student Committee on Diversity

On Wednesday, the senators convened in what ended up being a short and sweet meeting, focusing on the topic of the Student Committee on Diversity. Other topics included the new posting policy, the SCAPP accessibility survey, and the desperate need for election czars. 

The Student Committee on Diversity (SCOD) was created to include student voice within the established faculty-run Committee on Diversity (COD). The committee hopes to expand the efforts of the COD to both staff and students with the goal of maintaining a reputation of transparency and inclusivity. 

Senator Apoorva Mangipudi started the discussion on SCOD by raising one issue they are looking to work on: gatekeeping. This term refers to the practice of faculty members using over-enrollment to justify excluding students of minorities within a given field of study. Intro courses have become exceedingly difficult in order to weed out students. These courses become difficult to the extent that students interested in pursuing the major need prior exposure to and knowledge of the subject, which notably comes down to, as one senator put it, “wealthy white men of privilege.” Another senator noted that this practice completely disregards the principle behind a liberal arts education and denies the pursuit of knowledge to those who have been marginalized by society. This intentional exclusion can be seen when majors within the institution stagnate despite the continued growth of diversity in the college as a whole.

Although the discussion began with a negative tone, the senators and members of SCOD turned to brighter things by looking ahead and commenting on their plans for development throughout this spring semester. The first thing on the committee’s mind is delving into conversations with the Committee on Diversity to establish SCOD as an impactful and effective entity. SCOD is also working closely with the Student Committee on Academic Planning and Policy to further increase academic diversity, specifically in more intro courses beyond the reconstructed HUM 110 curriculum. 

SCOD has yet to meet this semester but plans to commence this Sunday, March 1 from 5-6pm in PAB 131. Any students interested in the betterment of increased acceptance of diversity on campus can show up and have their voices heard!

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