The University Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
within University Governance Approved by University Senate December 1, 2016
Chair: Ruben Flores, American Studies
Faculty: Cecile Accilien, African/African American Studies
Faculty: Pam Fine, Journalism
Staff: Michael Chavez, Recruiter, School of Engineering
Staff: David Day, IT
Student Senate: Stephonn Alcorn
Student Senate: Danny Summers
Multicultural Student Government: Trinity Carpenter
Multicultural Student Government: Sneha Verma
The purpose for this committee will be to implement the April 2016 recommendation of the Provost’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group that the University Senate “take special action to review: the structure of student representation in University governance to ensure equitable representation between the MSG [Multicultural Student Government] and the current Student Senate; Student Senate elections processes to determine if Student Senate elections might be best administered by a University Senate committee comprised of students, staff, and faculty; how to disrupt concentrations of power within the Student Senate in order to ensure that the Student Senate is inclusive, representative, and allows for broad participation from the student body; and whether coalitions should be abolished in the Student Senate elections process, thus requiring students running for Senator seats to campaign directly with the constituent students they seek to represent” (p. 21).
Based on this review, the committee shall consider, draft, and/or propose amendments to the relevant governance documents, including but not limited to the University Senate Code and USRRs, SSRRs, and FSRRs at the University of Kansas, that can address the problems the DEI Advisory Group identified. The committee shall also consider any alternative recommendations for addressing the problems identified by the DEI Advisory Group that may come up during its deliberations, including the feasibility of a Multicultural Student Government being recognized by the University Senate and the Chancellor as, in effect, a fourth constituent senate within University governance.
The committee shall be comprised of the following nine members. Two student appointments shall be made by the current Multicultural Student Government Board. Two student appointments shall be made by the Student Senate Executive Committee. Two staff appointments shall be made by the Staff Senate Executive Committee. Two faculty appointments shall be made by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. A committee chair shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. The committee shall report to University Senate with proposed amendments to the relevant governance documents by April 15, 2017.
Rationale: The original proposal was limited to “explor[ing] the feasibility of a Multicultural Student Government”’s being recognized by the University Senate and the Chancellor as, in effect, a fourth constituent senate within University governance. The DEI Advisory Group’s recommendations and concerns, however, go beyond this idea to include several other avenues for bringing currently marginalized students into the centers of decision-making. These avenues are not mutually exclusive and could be pursued sequentially or concurrently. However, the realization of any one of them will require amendments to the Codes and RRs, so the committee is charged with reviewing, developing, and or and presenting these amendments. While the approval, staffing, scheduling, and deliberation of the committee will slow down the legislative process, the committee will be charged with developing legislation, for the consideration of SenEx and the full University Senate, designed to remedy what the DEI Advisory Group terms “the deep sense of alienation” of students of color and others from governance. Accordingly, the Senate will have to take a stand to either accept, amend, or reject the proposed amendments. Given the current climate, sweeping the problems back under the rug with no political cost will no longer be an option.