SGA Rundown: Senate discusses diversity and inclusion responsibilities

President Renee Waller proposed cutting the coordinator position and dispersing duties across the senate.

Photo Courtesy of Biola University

Sophia Silvester and Ashley Grams

The Student Government Association kicked off this week’s meeting by celebrating vice president Seth Gladysz’s birthday. After transitioning to pray in small groups, president Renee Waller discussed budget cuts, the diversity and inclusion coordinator position and the university’s stance on dancing.

HOPE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY DANCE

Waller approached Biola University’s administration regarding Hope International University’s dance proposal at last week’s senate meeting. The university stands by current policy and will not make changes this academic year. However, the administration is allowing HIU to advertise around campus with posters and marketing materials. Students have responded positively to the possible dance and senators plan to capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising. 

BUDGET UPDATES AND CUTS

Waller presented possible options to increase contingency money for next year’s senate. She explained budget cuts are needed and that in order to reduce the student fee, organizations like SGA, Student Missionary Union, Campus Engagement and the Student Media Board will be affected. 

Waller then proposed to cut the coordinator of diversity and inclusion position, which would be effective in the next academic year. The coordinator of diversity and inclusion works on independent projects for students and assists the vice president of diversity and inclusion. 

Waller said the cut should not happen unless the next senate assumes the responsibility of upholding diversity.  If the position is cut, Waller said the responsibilities of the current coordinator will be split up among senators to ensure inclusion and diversity. The cut would open up $1,885 next semester. 

Alternatively, Waller proposed hiring an intern to assume the coordinator of diversity and inclusion’s duties.

Vice president of diversity and inclusion Caleb Strauss then presented an overview of the diversity and inclusion coordinator role. The coordinator currently leads SGA outreach and creates partnerships across campus. 

The diversity coordinator position was created in 2016 after swastikas were drawn on campus. Senators expressed concern with cutting the diversity position in light of recent racist vandalism in Horton Hall during Black History Month.