Brinker talks future of Diversity Action Council

Logan Raschke, News Editor

Student life director Ceci Brinker said she would meet with student affairs president Alicia Matusiak to discuss action the student life office will take to establish the new Diversity Action Council during the weekend after Student Senate’s Feb. 27 meeting. The Diversity Action Council, after it has been established, will then discuss alternatives to the BLM flag.

Brinker said she and Matusiak would discuss how they would reach out to multicultural groups on campus to find representatives for the Diversity Action Council.

After students have been selected to be a part of the Council, Brinker said they will then collaboratively and inclusively find alternatives to flying the BLM flag during African-American Heritage Month.

The reason the Diversity Action Council did not get established by the date Student Senate originally agreed upon during their Dec. 5 hearing (that date was Jan. 31, 2019) was because the Student Life Office was already working with Black Student Union to help with preparations for the Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant, she said, so creating the committee in time resulted to it getting placed on “the back burner.”

Brinker said overall, student government only had the power to make recommendations to administration with regard to voting on BLM flag alternatives after the Dec. 5 hearing.

Furthermore, the Student Life Office is going to be in charge of running the Diversity Action Council, but it will collaborate with Student Senate to ensure the Council is as inclusive as possible, she said.

“Our (student life) office basically said, ‘We really need to try to bring these representatives together on a regular basis to talk about multicultural issues (and) multicultural concerns,’” Brinker said. “We just felt that the Diversity Action Council could kind of be a connection or bridge or just a way to unify those groups and what they’re trying to do and how they want to be represented.”

She said even though African-American Heritage Month will be over after Thursday, the Diversity Action Council will still find alternatives to flying the BLM flag.

“Having seen some of the fallout from the Black Lives Matter issue, (the Diversity Action Council) would be a good group of student representatives to bring together and talk about ways that we can increase inclusion, representation, awareness, whether it’s a flag initiative (or) a program initiative,” Brinker said.

Brinker said finding alternatives to flying the BLM flag during African-American Heritage Month was a missed opportunity that, from her perspective, everyone at Eastern and in the Charleston community had some cause in.

“Unfortunately, (flying the BLM flag during African-American Heritage Month) was (the two petitioners’) original recommendation or proposal, but once they came to the realization that that was not going to be supported, whether it be by administration or student government or the campus community as a whole, then I think the opportunity was missed to look at other alternatives or bring other alternatives forward and that, to me, could’ve been (because of) anyone,” she said. “To me, I think that’s where everyone shares that responsibility.”

Brinker said once representatives have been elected to the Diversity Action Council and after they decide on proper alternatives, the Council will remain active.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].