Written by: Joe Adgie
The SGA has a problem with the lack of diversity in VSU’s faculty and staff.
They’re doing something about it, too: they unanimously passed a resolution calling for this problem to be fixed.
The resolution recommends that the Office of Social Equity (OSE) “be separated and restructured” in July to more efficiently handle the lack of diversity in VSU’s faculty and staff.
Currently, the OSE only employs five people, and its responsibilities, according to the resolution, are “too broad” for the number of people employed there. The resolution also said the OSE “has neglected to ‘achieve excellence through diversity’ efficiently.”
Presently, 52 percent of students are white, 33 percent are African-American, and 3.8 percent are Hispanic. Among faculty, 81 percent are white, while only 7.1 percent are African-American and only 2.1 percent are Hispanic.
“We are the people who are supposed to be, according to our mission… providing and/or promoting a diverse environment,” SGA Senator Isaiah Smart said, who is also a staff writer for The Spectator. “We can’t do that if we’re not addressing these diverse groups within our faculty, our staff and our students.”
Smart explained the problem the SGA has with VSU’s faculty and staff.
“The issue is that we have so many groups represented as students, but we don’t have them in our faculty and staff,” Smart said. “When you start looking around at your teachers and your faculty and staff, nobody in an overall sense looks like you. If they look like you, they don’t share the same background that you do.”
Smart said that a number of minority groups on campus, such as international students, LGBT students, handicapped students and others “don’t have someone or multiple people that they feel comfortable with.”
The SGA wants to remedy this problem by filling the position of assistant dean of students for minority affairs, which has been vacant for more than a decade.
“…You haven’t seen a department or individual who’s going to do something to make sure that you and your fellow student, black, white, Hispanic, or not, feel comfortable in their shoes as a student,” Smart said. “No matter how we feel generally about the school, we’re still lacking a little bit because we don’t have this department or this position.”
Smart went into further detail about the OSE during the meeting.
“The Social Equity office is in an old house across the street from the UC, which doesn’t even show, in that case, that we even care as a university about that individual department and its purpose, Smart said.”
Smart also said the house has sustained water damage and those that work at the OSE have been relocated to Farber Hall.