CEDAR CITY — As the Supreme Court listened last week to arguments about affirmative action in higher education, America’s colleges and universities began to examine their efforts to assemble and serve diverse student bodies.
At Southern Utah University, a news release said, administrators continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority for the campus through resources and services for multicultural students.
SUU President Scott L. Wyatt said that in order to better serve the more than 800 multicultural students at the university, administrators will continue to listen to their concerns.
“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table; no one should be marginalized,” he said. “That’s why we are making an extra effort to ensure that all students at SUU understand that we are willing to listen.”
Wyatt first created the idea for a campus forum to bring together multicultural students and administrators during the Spring 2015 semester in order for students to feel included by the administration.
“We share the same goals: We all want every student to succeed,” he said. “Helping everyone succeed begins with listening.”
Another forum was held a few weeks ago for students to ask questions and raise concerns to administrators about issues that face them.
Through those conversations, Jonathan Puente, university executive director for access and inclusion, said the SUU administration has a better understanding of resources and other needs that multicultural students have.
“Through the discussions with multicultural students, SUU’s administration reaches out to hear any concerns and resolve them,” Puente said.
The director of SUU’s Center for Inclusion and Diversity, Talia Strong, said diversity is a part of life and the college experience, which needs to be celebrated.
“Educating people on these issues through classes and school activities can open people’s minds and help them see these issues through a new viewpoint,” Strong said.
Puente said the Diversity and Inclusion Center, which opened during the Fall 2015 semester, is a good resource for multicultural students to seek academic advising and tutoring, as well as involvement in clubs like the Black Student Union, Korean Club and Latinos in Action, among others.
Strong said a Diversity Council will be formed in the spring to create more education on diversity issues through campus activities and panels. She also said the Inclusion Committee, made of faculty, staff and students, will continue to develop an inclusion plan for the university with the goal of creating a safe environment for people of various religious, race and sexual orientation backgrounds.
Puente and Strong each said that more resources and services like the campus internship program will be expanded for more multicultural participation.
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