The Collegian
Thursday, July 02, 2020

Students call for improvements in diversity and inclusivity, according to listening tour findings

<p>The Westhampton Deanery.&nbsp;</p>

The Westhampton Deanery. 

Student government representatives released the report of their listening tour on March 21, sharing with students and faculty the findings of a semester-long outreach initiative.

Chiara Solitario, Westhampton College Government Association president, and Abbas Abid, Richmond College Student Government Association president, have already begun acting on the information in the listening tour, they said.

“I’m setting up a diversity and inclusivity committee, and it’s the idea to address some of the issues in the listening tour report,” Solitario said.

Diversity and inclusion was one of the seven themes outlined in the report. The other six were social life, academics, relationships between faculty and students, campus services, relationships with administration, staff, and faculty; and mental health and wellness. 

Short-term recommendations to improve diversity and inclusivity included opening public areas to wider use, increased action from residence-life staff and a diversity and inclusivity general education requirement.

Chantel Baker, president of Black Student Alliance, expressed her hope for the outcomes of the listening tour.

“My hope with the listening tour is that not only are the views of all these students heard, but they’re actually implemented," Baker said. "And that it's not just another incident of someone asking them for their perspective and then not acting on it."

Maggie Latimer, president of the UR Geographic Club, spoke positively of the tour and believed it would be different than past outreach efforts that did not produce the change she had hoped to see.

“I appreciated how tenacious they were," Latimer said. "That’s what made it stand out." 

Although the listening tour has ended, Abid and Solitario both stated interest in continuing outreach efforts, specifically with athletic organizations with whom they had difficulty meeting last semester.

“Abbas and I are thinking of a listening tour part two because we haven’t met with a lot of the student-athletes or even club organizations,” Solitario said. “We need to figure out most likely a new method."

Abid and Solitario are also continuing to grow their visibility and accessibility to all students.

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“Chiara and I are going to be hosting office hours on Fridays,” Abid said. “The listening tour itself was just I guess a big first step in that direction of developing more constant communication with students."

Contact news writer Cal Pringle at 

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