Editorial: Hiding behind power: Administration ignores students in non-discrimination policy
Discrimination is not an uncommon occurrence on the university campus. A slippery definition of diversity is something that the administration has been unsuccessfully grasping at for years, culminating in an amendment of the university’s non-discrimination policy. The university, in its attempt to include students whose voices are otherwise silenced or forgotten on campus, silenced and forgot those who they were attempting to elevate in their choice to not overtly advertise the meeting or seek student input. In addition, Student Government Association (SGA) was not consulted in making this change, thus negating their role and removing any remaining component student involvement.
Without clear and reliable access to information, students are unable to take part in important university discussions and decisions. Students and student groups should be encouraged to participate in the discussion surrounding the discrimination that many of them face on a daily basis. Involvement in decisions on behalf of the administration should not be something that students have to actively search and fight for. Students have every right to understand and participate in the policies and bylaws that will govern the quality of their experience at the university.
Students are often the ones who feel powerless in the face of decisions regarding discrimination, whether on a national or local level. Here, the administration and faculty senate had the opportunity to better understand the experience of students discriminated against in the process, while attempting to quell this problem and improve student experience overall. Instead, students were again cast to the side in an effort for the university to appear diverse and accepting, without any actual progress being made. Their oversight, whether due to time constraints or purposeful, does not excuse the fact that they are actively dissuading and disregarding student participation in decision-making processes. The university’s track record with informing students of related policy changes in the past further evidences this blatant and unfortunate disregard.
The policy does not specifically take into account certain groups and organizations who are at the forefront of discrimination issues. These groups include the Center for Black Culture, Haven and other multicultural groups who are actively engaged in the process for creating a new multicultural center. All student organizations were left out of the Faculty Senate meeting as a result of not being notified. Evidently, leadership is needed with regard to this issue. There should be a liason that relays specific opinions and examples of discrimination to the administration, in order for them to better understand and, subsequently, handle such issues. SGA should have the opportunity to serve as such, but were ignored, an issue that the Student Body President Natalie Criscenzo brought up at the open hearing. SGA should be given the opportunity to do their job, by serving as a source of leadership in opening the doors between students and the administration, instead of being left out of major decisions that affect the student body.
Editorials are developed by The Review’s editorial board, jointly led this week by Editorial Editors Alex Eichenstein and Jessica Leibman. Alex Eichenstein and Jessica Leibman can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.