Discourse / Editorials / May 13, 2015

Thoughts from the embers: Make inclusivity a mandate

Knox is a school that prides itself on its student-led activism. If students back out of their innate obligation to achieve and lead, they deserve to face ramifications.

After Senate voted to approve budgets for the 2015-2016 school year, five clubs that did not attend mandatory Diversity and Inclusivity Training will not receive their full budgets. 

Knox is a school with a legacy of students who allegedly want to make a difference in this world. For Student Senate to require all campus leaders to attend Diversity and Inclusivity training is admirable. It shows that they themselves are leaders, and that they expect those who lead clubs and organizations to also be leaders. For students to fail to comply is far less than admirable. It’s a disappointment.

Of course, the workshops were not without their flaws. There were multiple problems with communication, and a few club presidents evidently did not receive emails notifying them of the upcoming workshops. Some students were notified of the workshops very quickly, with little time to coordinate with the club’s executive board and decide who could attend which workshop. Student Senate could have planned ahead and improved communication with its constituents. With less than half of the Senate membership in attendance to their own sponsored training, overall buy-in to the program appeared a bit shaky outside the executive members and the senators of the Diversity Committee. 

And yet, if Senate had backed down on its threat and allowed the absent clubs their full budgets, Senate’s word would mean nothing. They took the time and initiative to create these workshops of their own accord. To back down on a resolution of this magnitude would set a precedent of flexibility and submission that would be hard to overhaul in the future. It’s times like these that Student Senate needs to be the “bad cop,” so to speak.

Student Senate debated for 40 minutes at a recent meeting on whether or not they should let the clubs off the hook by allowing them to attend additional workshops during Fall Term, but Senate held its ground and stood by its rules. Students should be held accountable for the culture of their organizations. Six workshops were offered in the course of four different days that spanned weekends. If the leaders from these clubs couldn’t attend any of these times, there’s no way of saying whether or not they’d be able to attend workshops during Fall Term.

Knox is constantly faced with an uphill battle to save money, and by not spending it on these clubs, the money can be better allocated toward other clubs and organizations. Time can be spent on holding diversity and inclusivity workshops for the rest of the campus, and Senate will reestablish itself as an organization that stands its ground and values diversity and inclusivity. Next year the stakes will be even higher and Senate will need to prove this commitment can be continual.

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  budgets clubs Diversity training funding inclusivity Student Senate vote workshop

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