The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion plans to create a student advocacy group that will advise the office on how to reduce acts of discrimination on campus.
Jerry Kang, vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion, said in an email statement Monday his office wants students to suggest how the group should be run. Kang added the advocacy group’s responsibilities and its membership requirements have not been solidified.
Brandie Kirkpatrick, program coordinator in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, said the office is meeting with focus groups through January and February to gather information on how students want to structure the board.
Kirkpatrick said the focus group is comprised of 50 undergraduate and graduate students who faculty members recommended.
Kirkpatrick added the focus group includes members from the Greek community, religious organizations, transfer students and cultural organizations such as the Afrikan Student Union, MEChA de UCLA and Samahang Pilipino.
Kirkpatrick said she is not sure when the office will determine specific information about the advocacy group, including the application process, duties of each member in the group and its first meeting.
Briana Hodge, a third-year anthropology student, said she thinks the student advocacy board can improve campus climate and reduce cases of discrimination.
“It’s good that students can have a more direct relationship, so (Kang) will know exactly what’s going on,” Hodge said. “We can avoid issues like the ‘Kanye Western’ fraternity house incident.”
Allen Lu, a third-year applied mathematics student, said he thinks underrepresented groups on campus will be able to push for greater changes through a more direct relationship with administrators.
“(Underrepresented groups) could get more done if they’re connected to someone higher up, as opposed to doing it (alone),” Lu said.
Lu added he thinks members of the advocacy group will be familiar with the administrative procedures necessary to implement campuswide change.
Rawan Naji, a fourth-year political science student, said he thinks the student advocacy group may not be effective because students who have problems with administrators already reach out to them.
“People who do have thoughts and concerns probably would reach out directly to (Kang’s office),” Naji said. “But it might help people who are less outspoken have a voice.”
Students can send feedback or ideas for the student advocacy group at [email protected].
Contributing reports by Shwela Chawla and April Hoang, Bruin contributors.