Written by Bryce Ethridge, Staff Writer
In recent years, society as a whole has realized that we as people need to start recognizing or start to capitalize off our diversity.
Universities around the nation have begun departments focused on diversity and inclusion. Starting Oct. 1, 2016, VSU will have its own Department of Diversity and Inclusion led by interim director, Dr. Gerald Williams.
Dr. Williams was placed as interim director due to his personal passion for the topic of multiculturalism and he has had experience in creating such programs at two other institutions.
“It will be important to build and foster strong partnerships throughout the university community,” said Dr. Williams.
He invites all student organizations to engage in the department to build programs for all students. Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Vincent Miller stated the inspiration for this program didn’t come from pressure in the world, but rather from how he’s seen other campuses have programs when VSU does not.
“It is common with student affairs, but looks different throughout other campuses,” Dr. Miller said.
Although VSU has organizations that support minorities of diversity, such as the Department of Social Equity or the Black Student League, Dr. Miller stated he noticed how VSU has no real program for diversity and inclusion for students. He believes the program is needed to represent VSU’s own diverse population so it can help students understand what multiculturalism is and help connect all students regardless of differences.
The current plans for the Department of Student Diversity and Inclusion are to look at the already planned events and examine what might be missing from those programs to include more of VSU’s population. Dr. Miller also stated he wanted to bring focus to voting and getting to know all the candidates, including the independent candidates.
The department plans to build a relationship with other student organizations this semester so when next semester arrives they can build better events to gain an audience. Dr. Miller said he wanted to emphasize that he did not want the multicultural programs to feel forced upon the students. Most of all, both Dr. Miller and Dr. Williams want to stress that they want VSU to be “together as one campus community.” There will be an event coming up in the next few weeks sponsored by the group, with details to come.