By Anna Davies, Transcript Reporter
Ohio Wesleyan is taking steps to stop inequality in its student government with an inclusion board for underrepresented students on the Wesleyan Council of Student Affairs (WCSA).
The Student Inclusion Advocacy Committee (SIAC) “was created to address issues of underrepresentation both in our student government and on Ohio Wesleyan’s campus,” WCSA President Jess Choate said.
Junior and WCSA Sen. Ryan Bishop said, “The SIAC guarantees eight voting senator positions in our student government for people who would usually be underrepresented in the senate because, historically, they feel that …their voice would be ignored in WCSA.”
Choate said, “We worked all of last semester in collaboration with all of OWU’s cultural clubs, and honestly with anyone who had an opinion to figure out exactly what this committee should be.
Bishop said the SIAC was the idea of former senior class council president Shelli Reeves ‘16. He said he hopes the creation of the SIAC will encourage more students of dif-
ferent ethnicities to run for WCSA.
Choate said Bishop and senior WCSA Sen. senior Emma Nuiry were key advocates for the SIAC.
Bishop wants the SIAC to create a plan for future students and staff to receive diversity training. He said this term of WCSA has been mindful of ensuring everyone has a voice.
Each member of the SIAC had to have a written recommendation from at least one professional working at the Spectrum Resource Center, the Chaplain’s Office, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs or the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Diversity, according to the SIAC amendment.
Students also had to have a written recommendation from a cultural club. The diversity groups WCSA approached were those officially registered on OrgSync.
“I personally hope that more students feel that they can step forward and voice their opinions and thoughts … when we make decisions which affect the entire Ohio Wesleyan campus community,” senior and SIAC member Shashank Sharma said.
Additionally, President Rock Jones started the academic year by sending an email to all OWU students where he said that OWU’s tradition of tolerance is currently crucial.
Jones said OWU would stand firm in its mission of using liberal education to promote tolerance.
“At the heart of our conversations will be a commitment to the dignity of every human being and a commitment to create a campus that is safe, welcoming, and hospitable, especially to those who have been marginalized or who may be victims of inhumane words and actions because of their identity,” he said.
Jones then wrote about how Branch Rickey, who graduated from OWU in 1904, fought for the end of racism in sports and treated everyone with dignity.
Jones ended his email with a list of resources for students such as Counseling Services and the Chaplain’s Office.