Student group aims to expand influence on campus
This week marked an important time for Saint Louis University’s Diversity Leadership Cabinet (DLC) as the student organization hosted its second annual Oath Week. The week offered the group an opportunity to promote its purpose as well as to raise the community’s awareness on SLU’s Oath of Inclusion and how people can carry out the oath in their everyday lives.
The Oath of Inclusion was established in 2010 as a response to several bias incidents that occurred at SLU, and as a way to help unite the community and promote inclusion. It is a student creed that declares an expectation from all SLU students to be inclusive and accepting of diversity at the university. Shortly after the establishment of the creed, SGA created a collaborative committee known today as DLC so that students might have a place to voice their concerns and people to advocate for them when such diversity issues arise.
“DLC was established [with the purpose of] giving voice to students that felt like they didn’t belong at those tables of higher power,” said Amelia Romo, vice president of diversity and social justice.
Initially a small group of three or four students, DLC has now grown to a delegation of about 43 members and includes senators, delegates at large and chartered student organizations (CSO) representatives. It includes cultural organizations such as the Black Student Alliance, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, Indian Student Association and Muslim Student Association.
“It’s constantly changing,” said Romo. “We’re always looking to add seats…we’re trying to come up with some ways that we can present and propose some sort of recruiting and retention efforts so that we have way more students from racial and ethnically diverse backgrounds [here at SLU].”
This week DLC was able to celebrate these diverse backgrounds through Oath Week, which includes a variety of events that challenge people to think critically about how society views differences. The events are hosted by student groups as well as departments and include everything from dialogues to game nights. One of the most popular events has been a “Reclaiming Me” photo campaign, in which students are pictured next to quotes about a particular identity that they claim.
“I wish more faculty would have gotten involved to be honest,” said first-year student Jonathan Pulphus.
A few DLC students have expressed frustration at the lack of assistance from the SLU administration. The student group is currently working with the Diversity Affairs Committee at Washington University to generate new ideas for the group.
“I want to make DLC as important and advertised as something like Greek Life,” said future Vice President of Diversity and Social Justice Mika Romo. She hopes to work closely with the administration in the future to promote DLC and to raise the enrollment rates of students from different cultural background at the university.
“[DLC] gives students…from social oppressed identities a voice on campus,” said Mika. “It enriches the community because their voices are voices that a lot of people have never really heard before.”