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Editorial: Additional support needed from UWRF for inclusivity

November 13, 2021

November is a month packed with opportunities for recognition of marginalized groups. It is Native American Heritage Month, and also has Transgender awareness week and Trans day of remembrance. 

The Student Voice has often commented on what more could be done to raise visibility on campus for minority groups. Though there are things the campus is doing well, we thought it would be good to sum up ways that we feel would foster a more inclusive environment, and what we see as the main issues. This is not to say that campus is “failing,” but as a campus who posts one of its core values as inclusivity and states in its mission that it “fosters a challenging, supportive, student-centered environment that is characterized by academic excellence, inspiring and preparing students to serve as ethical, informed citizens and leaders in an increasingly complex, diverse, and global environment,” there is constantly room for improvement to better achieve this ideology. 

From our observations, it seems the office in place to handle issues and resources related to diversity and inclusion is overwhelmed. There is currently no Director, and the Gender and Sexuality Outreach Coordinator just accepted a new position at UWRF. This means that people who are already in full-time positions will be absorbing the responsibilities of an entire department until new staff is hired. We understand the university is currently looking to fill these roles, but it seems uncertain when they are left empty for weeks and in some cases months. 

Because of all these staffing changes, the campus is not planning anything for the month of November in terms of awareness or celebration. This is disappointing to hear, especially after so many things were also forgotten last year while in the virtual space. This isn’t just about the month of November, but all year round. Other campuses have found creative ways to integrate various backgrounds into their community. 

Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, created a series of promotional posters for their campus that highlighted art from around the world. Students and visitors could read about the geography and history of multiple cultures while walking through campus. 

The Student Voice recognizes that we are a platform that has the opportunity to comment on these issues. We continue to bring them up to serve as a reminder to campus of what is important and what issues we see as  most pressing. Students need exposure to a multitude of cultures and opinions in order to be successful in the modern workforce. If they can not consider different viewpoints, they will not be able to re-evaluate their own beliefs.