The senate meeting began as interim provost and senior vice president Deborah Taylor discussed the Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation conference. She talked about how Biola needs to cultivate its knowledge and skills when it comes to interacting with structural racism. This is because Biolans often display an inability to interact with people different from them. She also described her journey learning to understand how to speak properly about difficult topics in a way that makes people often silenced feel welcome. She explained faculty are also learning to talk about and understand how to embrace diversity.
“One of the biggest detriments in society is that we say one in Christ but try to make everyone the same, ignoring differences,” Taylor said in the meeting.
She explained Biola is considering ways to help Biolans engage other perspectives in a competent, gracious way. She thinks faculty will increase the training for cultural competency in syllabi up to 20 percent.. She also explained the Mosaic center was an extremely important step for Biola in its quest for diversity in that it provides an actual space for cultural conversation.
Afterward, senior vice president Drew Mattocks opened for discussion the possibility of the diversity liaison becoming part of the executive board. The position would be titled “Vice President of Diversity Inclusion.” The current role of assistant diversity liaison would transition to fulfill the diversity liaison position and would be paid.
Graham Gantzer, vice president of finance, technology and HR, proposed that the senate purchase either 13 iPad Mini 2’s or 13 iPad Mini 4’s with cases to conduct student surveys. The survey results would be considered by senators when voting for or against initiatives. After the $1,800 technology budget is taken into account, the iPad Mini 2’s would require $1,562.51 and the iPad Mini 4’s would require $2,977.64 from contingency.
Hannah Hoffman, Sigma senator, proposed for $1,800 for 10 students to have access to nine $20 counseling sessions at the Biola Counseling Center. These scholarships for therapy allow students to seek safe and confidential spaces to process their experiences with sexual violence.
Voting for these proposals will occur at the meeting on Thursday Feb. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.