Multicultural student leaders ‘feel disrespected’ over proposed changes to SGA’s Diversity Planning Committee

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During the Thursday meeting of the Student Governing Association, the student senate proposed to move the Diversity Programming Committee into the Office of Diversity after members of the current DPC expressed concern for the content present in the legislation.

Additionally, on Monday, the Privilege Fee Committee voted against co-authoring the legislation.

Darrell Reese, president of the Black Student Union and junior in human resources, said in the meeting’s open period that he felt the authorization of the bill by Tendai Munyanyi, chair of the DPC and senior in management, had really “gone behind the backs” of the committee.

Additionally, Reese said he had issue with the legislation because the timeline of the bill had been rushed to meet the pending end to the current senate term, and the proposed changes have been made without long term consideration for how they will affect multicultural student organizations that depend on the DPC.

“That does not reflect the views nor the ideals of the multicultural students that are on DPC,” Reese said. “Multicultural students feel disrespected.”

Mireya Diaz, secretary of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and senior in accounting, serves on the DPC. She voiced concerns similar to Reese’s about the timeline of the bill. Diaz also expressed concern regarding the lack of structure present in the Office of Diversity during this transition period.

The Office of Diversity has not hired the two promised new faculty positions or selected students to sit on the councils that would oversee the Diversity Programming Fund, which is what the DPC would be renamed to if the proposed series of bills were to pass. As of now, the funding for the planned faculty hirings has not been obtained.

“This idea, it is not a bad idea, but it is not the time to do this,” Diaz said. “I think that this idea does have potential, and in the near future possibly this could happen, but now is not the time.”

Munyanyi said he didn’t think the shift of the DPC to the Office of Diversity was “a big change.”

In the proposed legislation, the operating budget of the DPC, which amounts to $175,000 from the Student Activity Fee, would be moving into the jurisdiction of the Office of Diversity.

“I strongly believe that there was a miscommunication about the whole entire process,” Munyanyi said.

Kylie Andres, co-chair of the DPC and graduate student in counseling and student development, said that while she is in support of the bill, she doesn’t believe it must be passed in this term.

“We are willing to consider to wait if that’s really, really what people want to do, but we also wanted to give this governing body something to think about and something to consider and then we can go from there,” Andres said. “If we keep waiting until it’s perfect, it’s never going to get presented.”

Later on, Andres said she personally thinks there are some elements of the bill that “could be changed.”

“I want to formally apologize to DPC for not coming to them first because I do think that was a problem,” Andres said. “We weren’t trying to go above DPC, we really weren’t.”

Jonathan Peuchen, SGA speaker and senior in mechanical engineering, said the bill will be referred back to committee, but because the DPC is not a standing committee recognized in the SGA bylaws, it will not need to be approved by the DPC. Peuchen said the bill will likely be voted on in the Senate Executive Committee.

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Kaylie Mclaughlin
My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, KS. I’m a sophomore in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. In the past, I’ve focused primarily on multimedia journalism, but I’ve always been passionate about storytelling. I am fueled by a lot of coffee and I spend my (sparse) free time watching stand-up comedy and reading news magazines.