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Junior Class Council Discusses Inclusivity Day

Jules Struck ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Student Senators discussed plans during their meeting for a day of conversations about inclusivity, an idea that has been taken up a few times by other campus groups and reportedly soft-balled to administration. 

A “gathering about what it means to be a Dickinsonian” has been “kicked around for quite a bit at my time at Dickinson,” said Junior Class Senator Kevin Ssonko at the Student Senate meeting. The Junior Class Council proposed drafting a resolution recognizing senate’s support for a future version of the idea. 

Ssonko said the structure and timeline for the resolution were undecided, and that a completed document would likely be sent first to Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Inclusivity Brenda Bretz and Vice President and Dean of Student Life George Stroud. Feedback from Dickinsonians about a future proposal can be sent to student senators. 

The council opened the floor for ideas that might “influence administration to make this happen,” said Junior Class Senator Erika Faulkner, and introduced an idea to cancel classes for a day for a campus-wide gathering focused on inclusivity. 

“This idea has been discussed throughout administration,” in some form over the past few years, said Keson Bullock-Brown ’19, Student Senate director of inclusivity, and that “I would suggest you [senators] think about future classes” before being discouraged by “negative bias on how [the event] may go.” 

Whether senate would propose the event to be mandatory was up for discussion. 

Kaliph Brown, junior class senator, said “It’s one of those things the community needs, and especially if we don’t make it mandatory then it wouldn’t matter to the people that don’t want it, or need it.” 

Ben Fleming ’19, director of financial strategy, said he would be “hesitant to make it mandatory, but incentivize it heavily.”  

Jacob Kaufhold ’21, director of club finance, proposed having discussions take place in individual classrooms instead of one all-campus meeting. Another senator proposed extending classroom conversations over a few days to cover more topics in different settings. 

Senate’s Director of Academics Julien Herpers ’19 said “the issue about tensions on campus was brought up” at the faculty meeting earlier that day and that “moving forward faculty might embrace this [type of idea].” 

First-year Class Senator Colin Black said he would like to focus on the “content of this day and not only the idea of this day.” 

Sophomore Class Senator Alejandro Arango said “I think a conversation is only as good as the steps that follow it,” and suggested senate review the list of “Asks,” submitted by the Why We Wear Black movement in 2015, in their planning. 

“To be able to not feel uncomfortable is a privilege that we all have to recognize,” said Senior Class Senator Lucy Smith, “I don’t think that’s an excuse to not do it.” 

Junior Class Council members are Brown, Valerie Busch ’20, Faulkner, Ah-Quell Ramirez, Elli Rosen-Ducat and Ssonko.

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Junior Class Council Discusses Inclusivity Day