By Ryan Van Keuren
KU Student Government Board has decided to implement a new Diversity Council committee effective spring 2016, to serve as a forum for discussing issues that diverse communities face every day at the university.
“Before, there was no voice for Diversity Groups in SGB. This will provide a place to discuss the issues they all face every day as well as get the resource needed to solve various issues,” said Nykolai Blichar, junior and KU SGB Parliamentarian.
This new committee will consist of two representatives from 13 minority group organizations on campus such as Allies (which represents LGBTQ), FMLA (which represents women’s issues), and Black Student Union (which represents multicultural issues).
The first order of business for the committee will be to gather the issues and concerns of all the groups to determine if there is any overlap or if anything can be grouped together.
The committee will ultimately act as a connection and collaboration point for all minority groups in KU. The forum can act as a place for groups to communicate with each other on such topics as when their meetings and events occur and allow them to promote each other’s events to raise awareness.
“The diversity council is a much-needed addition to SGB,” said junior Maya Wilson, president of the Black Student Union at KU. “Some people disagreed with the thought of having such a division, but then that is simply ignoring the different types of people who come from all different backgrounds who attend KU,” she said.
Each organization will have two representatives. Together, the two representatives will have one vote towards issues in the committee forum. In order for a member of the groups to become a representative they must have belonged to the organization for 2 semesters and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Blichar will be serving as one of the Disabilities Representative for the Council.
The representatives will vote on the issues the groups bring to the forum, to decide whether to bring the issues to the Students Government Board for a resolution.
Blichar explained that if the issue does not pertain to certain representatives they must take that into consideration when voting on it.
Blichar will help the members of the committee with anything that they need as well as guide them in right direction during their first year.
Dr. Jennifer Schlegel and Jerry Schearer will be the diversity council’s advisors to assist and mentor the committee and to provide them with the resources they need. They will also help relay their issues to administration. Schlegel is the KU Senate President and Schearer is the Chair on the Committee for Human Diversity.
SGB President Joseph Scoboria said, “This committee will finally give diversity groups a voice in Student Government board and a way to solve the issues that they encounter.”