September 16, 2014

EDITORIAL: United Student Body: Moving Forward

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Following suggestions from various student groups, United Student Body — a Student Assembly initiative to promote diversity in student organizations — has undergone several changes this semester. These include less stringent rules, making it easier for student groups to adopt more concrete diversity initiatives. We at The Sun believe that the changes to the USB implementation are a step in the right direction and will help student organizations better adopt these policies.

United Student Body was designed in light of President David Skorton’s fall 2011 vow in “Toward New Destinations” to increase diversity in all aspects of the University. The United Student’s Body was created in spring 2013 following S.A. Resolution 45: Fostering a United Student Body. It covered byline funded and SAFC Performance tier groups, and the Diversity Inclusion Plan consisted of complicated paperwork from both the organizations and the S.A. According to Shivang Tayal ’16, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion and International Liaison for the S.A. some student leaders thought the previous implementation of USB was too subjective, making it difficult for groups to imagine more specific plans. By including these changes, the S.A. has worked to alleviate some of the complications that arose with implementing USB.

These changes include reducing the number of Diversity Inclusion Plan items that must be listed by each group, as well as creating a task force under Student Assembly Committee for Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives to evaluate the DIPs in face-to-face meetings with group leaders. We believe that these meetings are a positive addition to the plan implementation, and will allow the S.A. to express its expectations more effectively and student groups to voice their concerns more freely.

Though this seems like a positive step towards ensuring diversity, we still harbor some concerns about USB. The DIPs appear to be an overarching policy, which might not be feasible for all groups on campus. As USB enters its second year, we are optimistic about the changes that have been introduced. However, we also hope that the S.A. will continue to examine and revise USB moving forward.