This semester Florida Southern’s Student Government Association appointed the new Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
This committee was created to address social justice issues on campus and generate change. The committee was proposed and approved into the bylaws on Sept. 30.
The committee will organize educational opportunities and events about inclusivity and “… is responsible for listening to the concerns of the student body,” SGA President Allen Shorey said. Another goal of the committee is providing support and solutions to students facing exclusion. The Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will also collaborate with the Simmons Center for Multicultural Appreciation to support other student organizations centered around these issues.
A report from this committee will be distributed to the SGA Senate at every meeting, which is open to all Florida Southern College students. Shorey notes that meetings are only closed to the student body on a case by case basis. “[Meetings are closed] depending on the content of the material being discussed… at the discretion of the administrative vice president as well as the committee chair,” Shorey said.
SGA executives Jollice Boyd and Shorey were inspired to create this committee following the death of George Floyd, an innocent Black man who was killed by a police officer on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis. His story woke several Americans up to the realities of systemic racism in the country, and these Florida Southern students were determined to use their positions to further the school’s social justice efforts.
Shorey wanted to keep the momentum going although time has passed since George Floyd’s death. “We wanted to make sure that we didn’t fall into complacency. It is easy to make change when it is demanded, but creating change on campus proactively was at the forefront of our minds,” Shorey said.
Boyd researched the structures of other college student governments and was inspired. “From there we decided this was something we wanted to implement into our Senate and the idea has continued to evolve and grow ever since,” Boyd said. This is SGA’s fifth Senate committee.
The goal of the Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is to create a better college experience. The majority of Florida Southern students are white, and SGA is committed to ensuring that everyone has a voice.
“Since SGA is supposed to be the face of the student body, we want this committee to be a place where our students feel heard. We plan to work with administration to communicate the needs of the student body as well as work to educate our student body on the needs of other students,” Boyd said.
SGA is actively working to make our campus a more inclusive place. To execute this vision is going to take hard work, and both students think this is a promising start. “[It will take] the right mindset, openness to growth, and movement in the right direction… Assessing where we were at and the steps we can take in the right direction is a way that we can stay focused on progress at any given time,” Shorey said.