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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

A campus-wide effort

Next steps for promoting inclusion and diversity

The Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) celebrated its one-year anniversary on Jan. 24. The center represents the hub of inclusion and diversity at St. Joe’s, with offices for staff members of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity (OID) as well as spaces for Student Inclusion and Diversity (SID) groups to host meetings and events.

The opening of the CID one year ago marked a major step forward for the formerly named Office of Multicultural Life, whose offices were crammed into the back hallways of Campion’s second floor two years ago.

One year after its opening, the CID has become a welcoming, comfortable space for students of color, LGBTQ students, international students and SID groups. On a campus that’s about 85 percent white and is largely homogenous in other ways (including religion, class, language, and other identities) students deserve to have places where they feel represented and don’t have to feel like the “minority.”

In the CID’s inaugural year, our campus has also held several events that focused on race, diversity and inclusion on campus, hosted by student groups, the OID, and other school administration officials. Poorly attended though they were, these opportunities are an important way for students, faculty and staff to learn about inclusion and diversity efforts on campus and hear the concerns and suggestions of others different from them.

We encourage all parts of the university community to think about how they could help to make our campus more welcoming to more people.

Students: part of attending a liberal arts school ought to be learning outside the classroom. Be curious to hear from others who are different from you and to hear different perspectives. A lot of students don’t engage with inclusion and diversity efforts on campus because they feel they don’t have anything to contribute. But listening is often the most important way you can contribute and advocate for others. We ought to engage with the community that we’re a part of for the four years that we’re here. Stopping by the CID space and attending these events are ways to listen and contribute.

Student leaders: Consider ways that the groups and communities you lead can become more inclusive and welcoming spaces, even outside the CID. At the same time, think of ways to engage your community with the OID and CID. This year, the Office of Admissions hosted an interest meeting for Hawk Hosts in the CID. Even a small decision like this could bring people into the CID that otherwise may never have set foot in the center. Just getting more students into the center could be a way to get more students interested and involved in the efforts of OID and SID groups.

Faculty: As a group, you interact with every student on this campus. You have a major role to play in encouraging students to engage with our campus and with issues of inclusion and diversity. Incentivizing students to go to OID events is one way. Attending those events yourselves is another. Ultimately, you can be an example to your students. If you demonstrate that you care about inclusion and diversity at St. Joe’s, students, especially those who are least represented on this campus, will notice your example.
The administration ought to be more transparent about its efforts to address inclusion and diversity. Students have a right to know what concrete steps the school is taking to make our campus a more diverse and welcoming community.

The school recently released its strategic plan, in which it committed to recruiting a more diverse faculty and admitting a diverse student body. The university community needs to be continuously updated on the university’s progress in meeting these goals, and needs to know the purpose behind the administration’s efforts to gauge the feelings of students, faculty and staff about inclusion at St. Joe’s.

Although the administration has included efforts to address inclusion and diversity in its strategic plan, other members of the university community have to continue to be outspoken about our desires for our campus to be more inclusive for people of all types of backgrounds— in terms of race, class, religion, language, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality. It is not the job of OID and the administration alone to work for this type lasting change on our campus.

As students, most of us spend four years at St. Joe’s. Let’s use that time to work to leave our campus better than we found it, and better for the students yet to arrive.

—The Hawk Staff

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