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Progress made on Campus Climate Goals

first_imgFollowing the passage of a resolution addressing campus-wide issues of discrimination, USC administrators, faculty members, student leaders and community members have been working to implement changes in the University’s approach towards diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.The Campus Climate Resolution was introduced in the Undergraduate Student Senate on Oct. 20 and passed on Nov. 10; it went through in the Graduate Student Senate on Oct. 19. The initiative came in response to student activism on campus and reports of discrimination from several students, including USG President Rini Sampath.Campus protests on Nov. 12 ended with the delivery of a letter, demanding a meeting with key administrators, to the offices of President C.L. Max Nikias. Later that day, student leaders and key authors of the resolution met with Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry and Provost Michael Quick to discuss the administration’s response to student demands.In an email memorandum sent to USC students on Nov. 16, Quick outlined the University’s official response to the resolution, including the administration’s commitment to diversity as well as the specific actions that would be taken to address student concerns. Since the release of the memorandum, student leaders have been working with administration to implement these changes, starting with the creation of a diversity task force to spearhead the effort.The task force — which includes three undergraduate students, two graduate students and three faculty members, as well as Carry and Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni — was created to gather information and implement the action items in the resolution.“Solving these issues of discrimination, prejudice. It’s not going to happen overnight,” Sampath said. “We need to come from a very thoughtful perspective”The University has also committed to establishing diversity forums — monthly meetings open to all students to discuss issues of inclusion and discrimination on campus — throughout 2016, and has planned out all the topics for the rest of the year. Other ways for students to get involved, including USG Senate subcommittees and general body meetings, provide a direct channel for students hoping to stay informed with the progression of the resolution and bring in their own input and personal experiences.Issues such as the demand for transparency, outlined in the resolution as a request to “provide easily understood flowcharts or infographics of the process for reporting incidences of bias,” have been addressed in stages. Although administrators have worked to provide minutes of task force meetings and establish a website where students can submit their personal stories, resolution authors worry that these efforts don’t receive enough student input.“It’s a very curated, narrowly contextualized visualization of what progress looks like,” said Alex Kanegawa, a student worker of Asian Pacific American Student Services. “Although it’s modeled after UCLA’s diversity website, I think where they went wrong is that we don’t have a person who is directly accountable for this whole process.”As a result, students fear that the website may downplay or leave out information about student complaints or issues, which would hinder progress in the long run.“This process of creating change needs to be ongoing, so being accountable to the mistakes that we make in these conversations is really important,” said Alyssa Coffey, director of the Queer & Ally Student Assembly. “Having a way that we can look at what we’re doing, see our thought process, and criticize as we move forward is an invaluable tool to creating a process for cyclical change.”Many of the same issues arose with the University appointment of Diversity Liaisons for each academic school; student leaders claim that although the move demonstrates a willingness to move forward and make change, it doesn’t provide the accountability that the student body needs.“Students didn’t have any hand in choosing [the diversity liaisons] — none of [the resolution authors] were asked, even though we represent several disciplines across this University,” USG Senator Sabrina Enriquez said.According to Kanegawa, the expansion of cultural centers has progressed slowly; several changes, however, have been implemented. The Office of International Services has been moved to an on-campus location, and the LGBT Center received a student lounge; APASS was able to appoint a new director, although it still employs only one dedicated staff member.“There’s been an active push to move the cultural centers away from this conversation,” Kanegawa said. “With the push towards centralization, the cultural centers are considered more of a student affairs issue rather than a diversity issue.”Many of the demands in the original resolution, however, have not been addressed by either the diversity memorandum or the work of the task force. According to Coffey, calls to establish a Vice President of Diversity have repeatedly been rebuffed on the grounds that a single dedicated position would detract from each individual student’s responsibility to uphold inclusion and diversity on campus.“To be truly effective in improving our campus climate in the long term, it must be woven into the fabric of all we do, and be a responsibility that we all share,” Quick said in the memorandum. “Given the breadth of this university, I believe this broad approach will be the most effective in addressing these issues.”Although the University agreed to consider the resolution’s demands to establish a Title IX coordinator, who would work in conjunction with the existing position of Title IX investigator to address violations of the law, no action has been taken. Student requests to establish a $100 million fund to support scholarships for minority students have also been denied, although Visions and Voices will direct $100,000 of its annual funding to diversity programming; calls to reinstate the diversity requirement for General Education have also been disregarded.Although some praise the administration for responding to what many see as a long-standing problem, others maintain that the University is still not doing nearly enough to address the issues that many students continue to face.“We are going to keep pushing,” Coffey said. “It’s an ongoing cycle – it’s not going to stop in May” Sama Shah contributed to this report.last_img read more

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More than 100 Participants at the Bicycle Event in Srbac

first_imgSrbac – on the 24 kilometres long relation Srbac – Gornja Lepenica, the 6th bicycle event “Srbac 2014” where more than 100 citizens age 3-60 participated was held today.This is the second bicycle event for the Bicycle club Srbac and before them this manifestation was organized four times by the Tourist organization Srbac.“This year we decided for the citizens to drive their bikes to the “Suvajac” excursion site below Motajica in Gornja Lepenica.“The relation is 24 kilometres long in one way with lots of climbs.” – said the president of the bicycle club “Srbac”, Ostoja Pejaković for SRNA agency.The youngest participant was the three years old Aco Nedić who arrived with his grandfather Branko, and Goran Milanović from Srbac brought his whole family along– two daughters and a seven year old son while his wife will go behind the colon by car if someone gets tired or some damage happens.Milanović says that this is a recreational event good for health and he recommends it to all citizens.The sponsor of this year’s bike event is the Municipality of Srbac.(Source: Nezavisne novine)last_img read more

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