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BSU Responds To President Panel Expansion

photo: Seth Garcia

photo: Seth Garcia

On December 8th, the Black Student Union and Allies sent an open letter to Emmanuel’s administration demanding changes in the way the college addresses the diversity and racial representation on campus.

The BSU demanded changes like cultural competency training, a Multicultural and Diversity Relations Development administrative office, funding for those programs, as well as a “clear and concise plan of action” from the administration. The letter stated the BSU expected a response by January 14th.

Meeting the deadline one day early, Emmanuel responded with an open letter penned from Sister Janet Eisner. The open letter stated that the President’s Panel will be expanded in order to form the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity.

No one from BSU was contacted directly with anything,” says Adebukola Ajao, ’16, president of the Black Student Union. “Our main goal is to work with the administration and communication is key. You cannot send out a response letter to the whole community and not directly contact the recipient group.”

The new panel is tasked with overseeing Emmanuel’s efforts to promote a more open and diverse community. These plans include instituting a Cultural Competency Training Program, forming a Student Advisory Committee of Multicultural Programs, and developing lectures and campus dialogues on race.

While the administration did respond with new implementations, they technically did not meet the BSU’s original demands.

It is one thing to write a lovely letter and it is another thing to take action,” says Ajao, “When I say take action, I am not talking about… putting a program in here or there, but creating something sustainable, something permanent.”

As of yet, none of the aforementioned plans have taken place.

Sister Janet’s announcement is nothing new to the Emmanuel community. The President’s Panel on Diversity and Community was founded in 1992 with the same purpose. In 2010, it evolved into the Steering Committee on Supporting a Diverse and Inclusive Community.

This committee has not been heard from throughout the recent social climate.

The SGA meeting held on January 20th saw more details about the Emmanuel’s soon-to-be actions. The administration is seeking about 15 students for the Student Advisory Committee of Multicultural Programs as well as the President’s Commission of Diversity and Inclusivity.

Sister Janet declined to speak on the new changes to the President’s Panel.

Seth Garcia is a Staff writer for The Hub. You can reach him at

Posted by on January 29, 2015. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.