Yea to changes in diversity, nay to any lip service

Barometer Editorial Board

We’re proud to see an email from OSU President Ed Ray that takes responsibility for previous promises and vows to shelve what has been described as “business as usual.”

Ray especially took initiative in his address when he acknowledged plans of quarterly town hall meetings to check in with the community. This will help provide a place for the community to have these conversations regularly.

In addition, the OSU faculty senate will consider making sensitivity trainings a requirement for new hires at the university.

We say don’t consider it, but do it.

The trickiest problem with institutional racism is the fact that many critics see no problems on the surface. They just don’t witness “that sort of thing” at the university.

The problem with privilege is that privilege is blind. It’s difficult to see something as an issue when it’s not an issue from your perspective.

International students and students of color are forced to experience white culture every day. And in terms of impact, they see it more than white students do. That’s just the nature of privilege.

And in some cases, students and instructors may not realize that what they’re relaying is insensitive—especially if it’s part of the classroom curriculum.

That’s exactly why we’ll have these training sessions and town hall meetings, so we can better understand what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Now let’s revisit that “business as usual” part real quick, because we felt like some might get lost in all the titles.

Angela Batista, Angelo Gomez and Clay Simmons have switched titles and responsibilities. For instance, Simmons, the chief compliance officer, will now serve as interim executive director of equal opportunity and access.

Gomez, executive director of the office of equity and inclusion, will now serve as special assistant to the president for community diversity relations.

Batista, who serves as associate vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of Student Life, will now be the interim chief diversity officer at OSU.

This sounds sweet, but we’re not sure what it means in the grand scheme of things.

Also appearing in the email is the “new Leadership Council for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.” In addition to the office of Equity and Inclusion itself, what is that supposed to mean?

To clarify, we’re not against institutional changes towards incivility—we just wish there was more explanation to go along with some of these big, complicated titles that, too put it plainly, feel like a lot of fluff.

We’re also concerned about the fact that most of these administrators already serve in positions where they should have been advocating for more positive changes and against institutional racism all along.

The majority of us are still on board about the email, plans and timelines being a good step in the right direction.

And we agree: We should not embrace “business as usual” on an administrative level.

Save the fancy titles for last and jump to topics on change we need.

Meanwhile, we look forward to the first town hall meeting coming this March.

Editorials serve as means for Barometer editors to offer commentary and opinions on issues both global and local, grand in scale or diminutive. The views expressed here are a reflection of the editorial board’s majority.

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