RyeSAC responds to equity committee

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By Caroline Alphonso 

RyeSAC won’t be shelling out money to hire a new vice-president.

One of the 10 proposals in a RyeSAC committee report on diversity, which was presented to the October board of directors meeting, said the council should expand v.p. education’s portfolio to include equality issues and create a position for an external issues v.p.

But in its response released this week, RyeSAC said a new v.p. position is unnecessary.  “Creating a v.p. position is a large financial commitment,” said RyeSAC president David Steele.  He said a new v.p. would mean paying a salary of $17,000.

RyeSAC’s advisory committee on equity, formed last year, organizes events such as the Black History Month display in the Olive Baker Lounge, and puts out an equity report.

But RyeSAC, in its response, said it has already put some of the recommendations in place.

The student government has already appointed board member Gillian Smith as commissioner of equity issues, a position created when RyeSAC restructured its bylaws last April.

Commissioners work about 10 hours a week and are not paid, though they receive honorariums.  Smith is responsible for promoting equity on campus and sending strategies to the board for approval.

The report also asks RyeSAC to help students with disabilities.  Steele said RyeSAC has sign language interpreters at board meetings and makes accommodations for students to attend events.

The committee’s other recommendations will be put in place soon.  Steele said RyeSAC will send members to conferences on equity issues, as proposed in the report, so council can organize a conference on campus.

RyeSAC will also hire a diversity consultant to lead workshops with the board of directors and staff.

“We have one of the most culturally diverse campuses,” Steele said.  “It would be sensible to make sure we’re being as equitable as possible.”

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