SGA starts committee to tackle diversity issues

By on September 26, 2007

The Student Government Association is taking measures to address the issue of diversity at Quinnipiac, particularly the recent racial slurs.

In an interview with The Chronicle, SGA President Sean Geary, a junior political science major, stated the organization’s stand on the diversity issues on campus.

“We passed a resolution last year that condemned the racial incident that occurred in the freshman residence hall last year, and we still condemn any kind of intolerance,” Geary said.

The resolution, which was passed at the SGA meeting on April 11, 2007, not only condemns that specific incident, but it also looks down on all intolerance.

“We, the Student Government Association, further condemn any other actions, documented or undocumented that are discriminatory in nature in regards to race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or any other forms of hatred,” it states.

In order to further address the issue of diversity, the SGA voted at their Sept. 12 meeting to create a committee to work with student leaders of diversity organizations.

“We passed a motion to form an ad hoc committee, which basically pledges to have SGA members work with other diversity leaders on campus to address diversity issues and make students feel as welcome as possible,” Geary said.

According to Tom Fritz, a senior economics major who will be heading the committee, they will be working in conjunction with several other student organizations this semester to plan for the spring semester.

“It brings the leaders of the Student Government Association and diversity groups on campus to come up with major initiatives to deal with the issue of diversity on campus,” Fritz said. “The first semester will be a lot of discussions between the committee and our constituents, and then something will come out in the spring semester.”

The committee will be made up of about half student government representatives and half student diversity representatives, according to Fritz.

“The committee is made up of nine people: one chair, myself; four members of student government; and then four members from diversity groups on campus: SHADES [Students Helping & Advocating Diversity Education], ALANA [Mentoring program] and Student Diversity Board,” Fritz said.

Geary said that while addressing the recent incidents is a starting point, the SGA is not going to focus solely on the negative events.

Instead, they are going to focus on the issue of diversity throughout the campus.

“We’re not looking at this as an isolated incident; we’re looking at it in a broader sense,” he said. “We’re looking at the whole issue of diversity.”

Despite all of the controversy surrounding the topic of diversity lately, however, Geary does not believe that Quinnipiac students in general are intolerant.

“I think the campus is actually very tolerant,” he said. “It’s usually a matter of that small group that’s ruining it for everyone else, but generally we’re an accepting campus, and that’s what we should focus on.”

In general, Geary believes that diversity is a very important concern at Quinnipiac, and that students need to support one another in this issue.

“I think that this is a huge issue and we need to be a strong community here at QU,” Geary said. “That’s our goal: to make sure that everyone is represented and is comfortable, and loves being here and can be here safely.”


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