Multicultural students introduce a diversity plan

The plan emphasizes minority equity and systemic changes

Chatwan Mongkol, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University’s Multicultural Student Leadership Council (MSLC) developed a diversity plan for faculty, administration and students in an effort to make equity and systematic change at the university.

MSLC Executive Chair Andrew DePass proposed the “Washington Witherspoon Plan for Minority Equity and Systemic Change at Quinnipiac University” to the administration and the Quinnipiac community during the student town hall on June 24. DePass said he developed this plan after discussions with Quinnipiac Black Student Union, Quinnipiac African Caribbean Student Union and Quinnipiac Asian Student Alliance.

“The ultimate goal of this plan and actions going forward is to exhaust every avenue possible to make needed change at Quinnipiac,” DePass said. “Furthermore, we feel that this plan is a needed structured way to accomplish this.”

DePass mentioned that “Washington Witherspoon” was included in the title as a reference to the officer-involved shooting of Stephanie Washington and Paul Witherspoon III, two Black people who were shot by Yale and Hamden officers in April 2019. Quinnipiac failed to make a public acknowledgement despite requests from multiple minority student organizations.

The plan addresses ways to make changes at faculty, administrative and student levels with data, justifications and resources for the proposal.

As there is a lack of minority representation among faculty members, the MSLC outlined five actions Quinnipiac could take to achieve the representative faculty population. 

The MSLC suggested a change in the hiring process to include more diversity-related foundations starting from within the faculty search committees, a mandatory training to promote cultural competency while addressing implicit bias in faculty, an annual updated data on faculty demographics for incoming students to see their representations, ample resources to aid minority faculty and an improvement of faculty retention rate for faculty of color to be equal with that of white faculty.

The plan also specified that the administration has a facilitating role to promote inclusivity and civic engagement at the university. 

The MSLC calls the administration to publicize its acknowledgement of marginalized incidents that affect students and surrounding communities, facilitate civic engagement, provide financial support for the MSLC, increase student access to the providers of color and leverage financial support and administrative influence for the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement.

Student involvement is the most important component to develop a more sensitive and culturally competent environment on campus, as stated in the plan. 

The MSLC laid out changes that relate to student involvement, which include a 14% increase in pell grant, a 25% increase in the budget for multicultural organizations and a change in disciplinary action for students who carry out racially charged incidents. The MSLC also asked for its representative to have a spot at every major discussion regarding the minority students, faculty and administration.

After the plan was proposed during the student town hall, DePass said the administration has not responded to the plan yet.

“It would truly be a disappointment if a response is not received in a timely manner from the university,” DePass said. “In fact, it would reinforce existing grievances that minority students have had with Quinnipiac as an institution.”

DePass said the MSLC will make sure to have continued correspondence with the administration in an effort to make minority students’ voices heard while keeping multicultural student organizations and the Student Government Association up to date on the progress.