Center for Diversity and Inclusion to offer student event funding

Deborah Spencer | Staff Reporter

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, founded last school year, is launching some new initiatives, including a campaign offering funding for student initiatives with aligning goals.

Center for DiversityEmily Schienvar | Student Life

The director of the center, LaTanya Buck, explained that last year the center worked on mapping out a plan for the next three years, with five strategic directions.

According to their website, the strategic directions include ways to engage the University community in learning experiences related to identity and foster a supportive community.

An assistant director, Purvi Patel, was hired this year to focus on students and programming.

One of Patel’s roles is coordinating the Bias Report and Support System, which allows students, faculty and staff to report incidents of bias or discrimination. The BRSS allows reporters to meet with an administrator about their report or to designate it “For Information Only,” which allows the reporter to remain anonymous.

“So if something were to happen to you in the classroom or in the residence hall, you can report it to get additional support, or just report it so that someone in the campus community knows about it, and we are looking and collecting all of that data to learn how the department will move forward in the future,” Patel said.

The center also coordinates the Reel Talk series, a series of discussions facilitated by faculty in which a source of media prompts the discussion.

“Again, just opportunities for folks to engage around social justice issues—issues that are engaged with identity,” Patel said.

According to Buck, the center is also looking to work with other departments and student groups whose missions are aligned with its own. These efforts have led to the creation of a fund with Student Union to support events related to the center’s goals.

“The Everyone’s Welcome Campaign is a collaboration between the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Student Union where we have put joint funds together that allow students to jointly propose for a collaborative event as long as it meets the guidelines of the initiative itself, which again is very much connected to the mission and the pillars of the center,” Buck said.

More information about the project will be released on Friday, according to Buck.

Buck said that one of her goals for the coming year was to promote discussion in the center.

“We look forward to developing more sustained dialogue space and opportunities for students to talk around very poignant social issues and things that impact them as a student, as a community—both local and global community—and [the] Washington University community,” Buck said.