This Week in Senate: Updates on Diversity
By J.K.B and P.T.H
On Tuesday evening, the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) welcomed Fatima Rodriguez Johnson, the associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Canisius. She went over the college’s goals when it comes to racial equity both inside and outside the classroom.
One initiative was reworking the diversity attribute in the core curriculum to better represent identity and race in those courses. When showing the statistics, Rodriguez Johnson noted that a little less than 4% of courses offered at Canisius possess the diversity attribute. However, the number of extracurricular programs addressing race increased from 25 in 2020-21 to 45 in 2021-22.
Rodriguez Johnson showed statistics that revealed that the amount of ALANA faculty at Canisius has decreased to 10 in 2021 from 15 in 2020. However, the amount of ALANA students has only increased, making the gap between the two a problem, since students of color tend to look for mentorship from professors who look like and understand them.
She also gave statistics on bias reports: there were 12 last academic year, of which 50% targeted race and ethnicity, 25% targeted ability and 15% targeted sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Rodriguez Johnson concluded by explaining initiatives including the Campus Pride Index, a benchmark of how friendly Canisius is to LGBTQIA+ people.
Senator Gabby Kaderli asked if more could be done to bring awareness about the Bias Resource and Response Team and suggested that USA encourage clubs to purchase from minority- and women-owned businesses, both of which Rodriguez Johnson supported. Senator Analee DeGlopper asked about the possibility of allowing students to use Griff Choice at minority businesses as well, which is being considered.
Next, the senate moved into appointing a new first-year senator and a new sophomore senator. Tim Sanders and Alyssa Kornacki ran for the freshman seat, both touting their past experience and the goals they would pursue if appointed senator. After discussing the candidates in a session closed to the media, Tim Sanders was appointed.
Providing a round of applause for the returned Griffin editors J.K. Barth and P.T. Healy, the senate then began the process of appointing a new sophomore senator. Candidates Vivian Etim and Sharon Smith both discussed their other involvement on campus as well as why they’d like the opportunity to serve the student body, specifically as a senator, on USA. After another closed session, the senate selected Vivian Etim.
As the meeting had lasted two-and-a-quarter hours by that point, President Jahare Hudson suggested that the senate move to skip committee and liaison reports for this week, and the latest meeting of Canisius’s student representatives was adjourned.