Inclusivity Improvements for Student Senate

Noah Finco

Retrieved from

Cara Henney, University Government Reporter

On Wednesday night, UW-L Student Senators sat down and discussed male privilege, while a few Senators introduced a resolution to create a more inclusivity active and aware Senate.

Dr. Ryan McKelley, the Department Chair of the UW-L Psychology Department, stopped by to share his research on male privilege with the student senators in the hope of equipping them with the knowledge to create more open environment on campus and within the Senate Chambers.  This was the first of many inclusion discussions that will be happening in the Senate throughout the semester.

This presentation involved activities for the senators to evaluate their own privilege, not only through race, sex, and gender identification, but the simple privilege of having knowledge based on where they grew up geographically.

McKelley encouraged the senators to Pause, Observe, Reflect, and Repeat when they enter into these discussions on privilege and diversity.  He also has a TEDx talk on masculinity for students who are interested in the topic and will be teaching classes on the subject next fall.

This was the same meeting that Resolution 39 was introduced by Senators Aaron Bhatoya, Jori Given, Jake Roberts, Malik Hodges, Dani Kallis and Judy Arney.  Resolution 39 proposed that each senator would be responsible to attend three organization sponsored events outside their own constituency base over a semester.  The Resolution is sponsored by Black Student Unity, RHAC Representative Natalie Burgess, LASO, Colin Giles, ASO, and SFT.  There were also students and faculty in attendance to show their support for this resolution, and express their concerns.

Arney reflected on her reasoning for writing Resolution 39, “our constitution states that we value diversity and inclusion, and I take that seriously.  I think all our senators should.”

“People expect our senators for diversity to educate them instead of seeking out info themselves,” expressed Hodges, who hopes this resolution will be an educational addition to the Senate.

Resolution 39 reads, “There has been discussion regarding a distrust between Student Senate and multiple Student Organizations on campus, called to attention by various senators and their constituents.”

Roberts responded by saying, “I’m disappointed that there is a distrust of us and I think this is a great way to rectify that sentiment.”

Besides creating trust amongst students and senate, Senator Alfonso Gunaratnam hopes it will lead to “more collaboration between diversity orgs and other senators…Organizations hang out with themselves, and I would like to see them collaborate more and work together more often.”

The senators agreed that the best way to lead is by example, and this was a simple way they could all be better leaders for UW-L students.

Given summarized the senators sentiments stating, “Exposure is one of the primary ways, in my opinion, in ending ignorance and bigotry.  My reasoning for this resolution is to not only increase the relationship and communication between senators and their constituents, but to also encourage and push senators out of their comfort zones and into these spaces in which they can get exposure to end the ignorance and biases that we all have.”

Resolution 39 will be brought up for a vote by the Senate in two weeks, as it is a Bylaw change and the two week rule cannot be suspended.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email