The Associated Students of Fort Lewis College were met with over an hour of public participation by students addressing diversity on campus at their regular meeting Oct. 2.
FLC President Tom Stritikus was present at the meeting to address multiple topics including the expected creation of a Diversity Collaborative designed to share a variety of student perspectives with school administrators.
This group of students is expected to work on ensuring representation of student groups, communication with the student body about possible policy changes and ensuring that the changes are being discussed. A link on Sky Hub was sent out to certain students to apply to be a part of this group.
Jackson Suazo said during the public comment portion of the meeting that the land acknowledgement clauses present in some of this year’s syllabi should be expanded as well as further integrated into school curriculums, with an emphasis on sharing different perspectives in classes.
“Individuals and narratives need to be challenged when it’s a constant,” Suazo said. “It needs to be addressed and we are addressing it currently, but not in the fullest form, not to its potential. The students have the potential to carry this on.”
Zhaida Wilbanks said that FLC should be active as an institution in standing up for its Native American population in potential land disputes in the area.
Wilbanks said that the University of Wisconsin-Madison refused to comment on Ho Chunk lands being used to construct a telescope when approached by a group she worked with.
“I had a full ride to UW-Madison, and they have amazing programs there,” Wilbanks said. “But, I wanted to come somewhere new, somewhere fresh - somewhere where I could possibly mold.”
Taylor Neal, representing the Black Student Union, suggested that the registered student organization be moved to a more permanent position alongside El Centro, the Native American Center and the Gender and Equality Center.
Neal also said that decisions being made at the administrative level to help minority groups on campus should be shared with the students impacted by such issues, as she felt that she had not been informed or included in decisions made at that level in the past.
Stritikus said that these issues would not end with these discussions, but would move into action.
ASFLC performed a preliminary vote on the creation of their own diversity council. This hypothetical vote was unanimous and the real vote will occur Wednesday.
The council is expected to run in a similar fashion to ASFLC with an even greater focus on community involvement, First-Year Ambassador Iain McCourt said.
Discussion also centered around RSO president’s meetings focusing on teaching how to manage diverse perspectives, proper edicate for service animals and incorporating inclusive language.
These discussions have yet to continue and it is unknown when changes will be implemented.