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Students offer input to Climate Task Force

image of members of the Campus Climate Task Force discussing recommendations in the Rosa Parks Room at Watterson Towers.

Members of the Campus Climate Task Force discuss recommendations in the Rosa Parks Room at Watterson Towers.

Climate Task Force members heard from students and learned the Implementation Task Force is moving forward on recommendations.

A panel of students addressed issues of diversity on campus at a recent Climate Task Force meeting. The panel consisted of Samia Ahmad, advisor for the Muslim Student Association; Alondra Gonzalez of the Association of Latin American Students; and Jade Triplett, a graduate student who offered input from the Black Graduate Students Association.

The students spoke about wanting to see more diverse faculty and staff, and more courses available that go beyond classical and Western thought. “A more diverse faculty and staff would naturally lead to a more diverse curriculum,” said Triplett, who is a graduate student in the School of Social Work and works in the Diversity Advocacy Office. “Diverse people can bring their life lessons into the classroom.”

This is the second student panel that addressed the Task Force. The group also heard from students last semester discussing the possibility of a multicultural center. The topic of a center surfaced again at the recent meeting, with students agreeing a center would be helpful, but asking for it to be considered more as an inclusion center where all diversity organizations can work together, and interact with everyone. “It should be for all students,” said Gonzalez.

After hearing from the panel, the Task Force began working on suggestions for intermediate (one-year) goals for Illinois State. The group’s short-term goals were accepted by President Larry Dietz and moved on to the Implementation Team.

“Our goal is to find champions for each of the short-term goals we can tackle,” said Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs Levester Johnson, who is heading up the Implementation Team with Interim Provost Jan Murphy. The team is developing a dashboard that will allow the campus community to see where each goal is progressing. “Transparency is very important us,” said Johnson.

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