Mid-year progress report covers campus diversity initatives
A mid-year progress report concerning the Oath of Inclusion has been released, prepared by vice president of diversity and social justice Sean Worley.
Members of SGA and other interested students wrote the original draft of the Oath in the summer of 2010. It was created to raise awareness for diversity on campus along with addressing the student body’s responsibility to help make Saint Louis University a better environment for all.
“It’s important to remember the context in which the Oath was developed,” SLU Graduate Thomas Bloom said, an original committee member in the creation of the oath. “It [was] after a period of intense division on campus in the spring of 2010 caused by a string of bias incidents.”
Bloom added, “The oath was more about planting a seed. I think that if it helps to spark a conversation, if it creates a space for dialogue about our differences as well as our commonalities, then it is doing its job.”
Worley’s report attempts to provide a quantitative demonstration of the SLU community in terms of its recent diversity initiatives.
At the beginning of the 2013 school year, SLU added a lactation station for parenting mothers. It is a replacement for the original nursing mother’s suite in Ritter Hall. The new station is in the student lounge on the ground floor of the Busch Student Center.
There has been increased effort in the SLU community to effectively
address sexual assault issues. Resource fairs have been held, such as the “I Live Consent” fair that was held in April of 2012. Additionally, the HOPE center was created to give support to those who have been sexually assaulted. More ideas are being discussed and steps are being taken to keep campus more secure for its students and faculty.
According to the report, there has been a lack of institutional change when it comes to the acceptance of all identities. The university Sexual Assault Policy has made an addition stating that a sexual act of violence can affect anyone and everyone no matter what their sexual identity.
Elevation of awareness concerning socioeconomic diversity on SLU’s campus has been the focal point of SLU/FUSED. The group, along with the Cross Cultural Center, has been collaborating with on- and off-campus associations to continue supporting the “efforts toward economic justice and equality,” the report said.
Continued support is being given to the Disability Services Club as well as the civic affairs committee of SGA to help develop an “inventory of supplies and equipment [that will be] used for assisting students with disabilities.”
Worley has made attempts to develop stronger pathways of communication between various diversity groups in order to allow for more impressive diversity programming. The installation of the Diversity and Social Justice Cabinet was one such initiative, which brings together the Diversity Leadership Cabinet, SLU/FUSED and the SGA mission and ministry committee.
Worley is also working to make the DLC a stand-alone group, as opposed to its current place as an SGA organization. The intent is to create an organization similar to the senate, but with a focus on diversity issues and initiatives.
In order to increase the visibility of the oath, the inaugural Oath Week will be held April 22 through April 28. The week will be evaluated afterwards to gauge the potential for maintaining a long-standing series.
“The Fall of 2012 semester saw first time collaboration between the Intergroup Dialogue program and the Diversity Leadership Cabinet for the ‘Let’s Talk’ Dialogue Series,” the report said.
Opportunities are being developed to create more communication between member organizations of the Diversity Leadership Cabinet and the vice president to bring up and address collective concerns faster and more efficiently.
The vice president recognizes the dedication and work that has gone into the oath, but “is fearful of where the community may be regarding diversity and inclusion [without the oath].”