Equity and Inclusion in Action
Creating structures that turn good intentions into good actions and results is the main goal of the “Equity and Inclusion” programs run by the Wesleyan Student Assembly listed below. Following the BUILD principles, students and student groups motivated to create change will have student government support and resources to create the change they want to see in the world.
Bring solutions and products to people of all backgrounds.
Utilize data to recognize and counteract inequities internally and externally.
Institute processes that turn good intentions into good actions and products.
Learn from case studies and research.
Drive changes with compassion and understanding.
Self-Reporting of Demographics of Leadership and/or Membership
The first step to working on fixing inequities is to have the data showing where there might be barriers to entry for different groups of students. Many Fortune 500 companies, U.S government agencies, and nonprofits have begun using demographics to help determine where inclusion is falling short in their organizations.
Many of these organizations such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Intel, the U.S government, and others publicly release their data so that they can be held accountable to goals for improving inclusion and also make it known to outside organizations where pipelines and programs can be most useful.
Starting this semester, using the demographic collecting procedure linked below, the Wesleyan Student Assembly will be tracking and publicly publishing the demographics of its leadership and membership each semester. There is still a lot of work to do in making the assembly representative of the many backgrounds Wesleyan students come from—and this new data will keep future generations of students informed on where the assembly needs to improve.
It is encouraged that student groups that feel students from all background would enjoy what their group has to offer should also collect and publish demographics so that inequities can be addressed by the group’s leadership.
LINK TO DEMOGRAPHIC COLLECTING PROCEDURE AVAILABLE ON DECEMBER 6TH.
Research on Stipends, Academic Credit, and Digitization for on-campus Media
One area of special interest is supporting efforts to make inclusion for on-campus media a reality. This working group researches how initiatives in stipends, academic credit, and digitization related to on-campus media could accelerate real changes after years of little progress. The working group will be consistently releasing research over the next year and release a final report before the Fall 2016 semester. The working group is open to all Wesleyan community members.
LINK TO WORKING GROUP
Co curricular Leadership Stipend Pilot Program (pending vote)
Last semester the assembly authorized a stipend program for financial-aid students that serve time on the assembly in response to a lack of socio-economic diversity in the assembly. This semester 45% of Wesleyan Student Assembly members receive a stipend towards their financial aid allotment in return for their time, commitment, and community building.
Many other student groups offer excellent opportunities for students to gain leadership experience and contribute to the Wesleyan community. However, many leadership positions require a tremendous amount of time thus creating a high burden for financial aid students who also need to work to pay school expenses and send money home to their family.
The pilot program will run for the Spring 2016 semester with five student groups that go through a rigorous selection process. The program will then be evaluated in Fall 2016 to analyze efficacy and be subsequently renewed or discontinued based on the results.
LINK TO RESOLUTION AVAILABLE NEXT SEMESTER.
First Generation Dean in the Office of Equity and Inclusion
First generation students face unique challenges when attending college. First generation students can often feel they lack the social, cultural, and academic capital many of their peers have. A dean well-versed in the needs of First Generation students is critical to providing support for this group of students. This resolution Commits the First Generation and Low Income Student Working Group in the House of Representatives to work alongside the First-Generation Task Force to highlight need on campus, draft a job description, and ultimately hire an individual to serve firstgeneration students on campus.
Large Budget Allocation Transparency (pending Vote)
This initiative makes large allocations transparent to the student body. Each semester the budget committee will release the history and reasoning behind allocations for student groups that receive over $15k dollars in a semester or year. It is hoped this transparency will make marginalized groups that have traditionally not asked for much money see what is possible, and also to expose expensive traditions that should be considered for change.
Note on History of Inequity at the Wesleyan Student Assembly
The Wesleyan Student Assembly has only recently begun to show improvements in socio-economic, racial, and gender diversity. However it is recognized that for many years the assembly has been disproportionately dominated by Whites, males, and non-financial aid students. Since the assembly has not tracked demographics in the past it is hard to say by exactly how much the assembly has improved on a year to year basis. Progress on diversity and inclusion can be fragile, and with the new self-mandated metric collection the assembly hopes to continue to keep the pressure on making the assembly inclusive to female, low-income, minority and other marginalized students.