A call for community dialogue and progress
The Diversity Affairs Council, a branch of Student Union, recognizes that the image posted online on Oct. 30, regardless of the intention, has hurt members of our community. As representatives of the Washington University in St. Louis student body, we are disheartened by this incident. The DAC’s main purpose is to foster a more inclusive campus environment and to serve as a liaison between the student body and the administration. As such, we would like to address our campus community directly.
It is important to understand the compounding effects of such events on individuals in our community. Although these incidents are often overlooked, every small injustice that goes unspoken and ignored makes members of our community feel unwelcome. By remaining complacent in the face of such events, we allow these acts to become the norm.
How can we, as students, ensure that we hold ourselves accountable for incidents such as this? First, we must recognize the need for change. Second, we must not be afraid to initiate conversations surrounding these issues of bias both on and off campus. We recognize it is challenging to speak up when witnessing hurtful behavior, yet we must take responsibility to make our community more welcoming. Moreover, we must take the time to ask questions and seek out opportunities for growth if we do not understand any given issue. Finally, we must learn to empathize with one another and push ourselves to explore and understand challenging situations from other, often marginalized, perspectives. It is through empathy that we can gain insights into how and why others may react to situations in differing ways. One of many such opportunities is the Redefining Community Experience retreat in January, for which applications are due soon and can be found at rce.wustl.edu.
To the administration, we implore you to join us as we move forward in our efforts to make Washington University a welcoming place for all members to safely learn and grow. It is evident that this campus requires additional resources and staff whose job it is to educate, engage and support students in matters of diversity. Additionally, we must lay the foundations to normalize campus conversations and education around identity and inclusion issues. To achieve this, common experiences surrounding diversity dialogue must be created and implemented starting with the class of 2018. The DAC also calls on administrators to take a critical look at how we recruit and retain students and faculty of all identities and how the University supports these individuals once they arrive. Such changes are crucial to making any sustainable progress within our University community.
The DAC exists to support Washington University undergraduate students. We recognize that this issue relates to many communities on campus and is not restricted to just one identity. To those who are harmed, to those who are confused and to those who feel removed from these conversations, we are here to support you. As we have faced such challenges in the past, know that the DAC, as a part of Student Union, will continue to work toward advocating on behalf of all undergraduate students and welcomes any feedback pertaining to our future initiatives.
The DAC Cabinet, 2013-2014
Gaby Dinkin—Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Sasse—Director of Administrative Affairs, email@example.com
Amee Azad—Director of Student Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffini Hyatt—Director of Diversity Training, email@example.com
Iudie Lee—Director of Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gokul Krishnan—Director of Public Relations, email@example.com
The DAC Committee Members, 2013-2014
Candace Borders, 2017; Leah Gluck, 2016; Iulia Mandel, 2017; Iayshree Balakrishnan, 2015; Tobeya Ibitayo, 2015; Shivani Desai, 2017; Shaun Kai Ern Ee, 2017; Eugene Lang, 2016; Dennis Shi, 2014; Bendel Fults, 2016; Yeshoda Karuturi, 2016; Christina Ye, 2017 ; Gaby Garcia, 2016; Bianca Kaushal, 2017; Ien Yoo, 2017;
Daniel Kennedy, 2015