Forum to examine campus diversity

Bob Galuski , Editor in Chief

In order to get a feel for the diversity climate on Eastern’s campus, and in the city of Charleston, the Diversity Committee of Student Senate wants input from students, administrators and others.

The input will be given during the “EIU Diversity Round Table” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Greenup Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Throughout last week, committee members have been handing out surveys to Eastern community members to help gauge their feelings about diversity on campus.

Questions such as “On a scale of 1-5, how diverse is Eastern?” and “Have you ever felt discriminated against or harassed on campus?” are available for community members to answer in order to get the discussion going Tuesday.

Yazmin Rodriguez, the student vice president of student affairs, said the forum would be an opportunity to see how the campus feels about its diversity.

“It’s about finding diversity. We want to see students thoughts and feelings about the community,” Rodriguez said.

Surveys will continue to be handed out from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday outside the Food Court of the Union. So far, 278 surveys have been filled out and handed back in.

The committee also invited various groups on campus, which included the National Pan-Hellenic Executive Board, the African Student Organization, the Black Student Union, the EIU Society of Free Thought, EIU Pride, the Latin American Student Organization, the Muslim Student Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Association of Colored Women’s Club: Women Changing Lives Chapter.

Rodriguez said LASO, the Black Student Union and Women’s Empowerment League were among the groups that had already responded back, saying yes to the invitation to the forum.

Rodriguez also said administrators such as President Bill Perry and Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, were also scheduled to be there.

“I presented it at the Board of Trustees, and they assured me they would be there,” she said.

While there have been Town Hall meetings and recently last week’s “Coffee Hour” dedicated to discussing the racial climate on campus, Rodriguez said the whole forum would be all encompassing of diversity.

“It doesn’t only relate to race,” she said. “It expands to everyone, with questions on the survey talking about gender and age, too. It’s a different approach.”

Rodriguez added that during the two-hour forum, it would be possible to discuss solutions to whatever diversity problems students see on campus.

“It’s a two hour thing; I’m sure it’ll come up,” she said.

If proven successful, Rodriguez said it was definitely something she would want to have continue on, even as early as next semester.

“Even if whoever the new Diversity Committee chair is doesn’t want to do it, I’ll try and take it over,” she said.

Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]