Senate passes resolution in support of U/FUSED

| News Editor

Student Union Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution in support of founding United for Undergraduate Socio-Economic Diversity (U/FUSED), a group that would aim to increase socioeconomic diversity on a national level at undergraduate schools.

U/FUSED will be a coalition that has organizations at different undergraduate schools. Any school looking to increase socioeconomic diversity on its campus can easily contact other schools and see what they have been doing to further the issue on their own campus. U/FUSED will have a Web site where all of this information is available and, most importantly, will spread information about effective strategies and ideas for increasing socioeconomic diversity.

The two main goals of U/FUSED are knowledge-sharing and forming a “critical mass” with regard to the issue of socioeconomic diversity to bring greater national attention to the issue, according to senior Chase Sackett, who initially co-founded the group with Fernando Cutz as Wash. U. for Undergraduate Socio-Economic Diversity (WU/FUSED). The group was founded a year ago and has made several steps toward increasing socioeconomic diversity. The group has met with the admissions office to increase the number of admissions officers so that the officers would be able to visit a greater variety of schools.

“Obviously we have limited resources in admissions, so what tends to happen is they go to schools with higher yield, and those schools tend to be of higher socioeconomic diversity,” Cutz said. “Adding a few people [will enable them] to visit less-high-yield schools.”

The group has also pushed for more loan workshops, raising awareness about what loans are available to students and making the process more comprehensive.

Both of these are processes that groups who are a part of U/FUSED can imitate at their own schools.

In addition to making these adjustments, WU/FUSED has been working with University faculty and staff to raise awareness about the issue. The reason for this is twofold: It helps make professors conscious of the cost of books and encourages them to consider putting the chapters on ARES, for example, and it puts pressure on the administration. Because of the wide variety of people who have become involved in increasing socioeconomic diversity on campus, the administration has a lot of people looking at its activities. Cutz and Sackett hope that this will lead to their ultimate goal: need-blind admissions.

WU/FUSED would also be sharing its survey and strategies. WU/FUSED took and published a survey in December asking students about their socioeconomic status. This information would be published on the U/FUSED site as well, and provide people with the hard-to-find information about students’ family income.

As a part of the campaign to raise awareness, WU/FUSED also distributed surveys on freshman floors so that each student could see how the people they lived with tended to skew towards the wealthy. This really brings the message home, Cutz said.

U/FUSED has already been approved by Duke University’s student government and is expected to be approved by Saint Louis University within next week. These three schools will be the founders of the coalition.

The resolution that passed on Wednesday will help to validate U/FUSED’s needs, Sackett said.

“We’re at this point where U/FUSED is ready to get founded but that can’t happen unless student government expresses its support,” Sackett said.

WU/FUSED is expected to dissolve into the Diversity Affairs Council, which will be a part of U/FUSED.