ASOC approves diversity branch, creates Campus Safety Committee

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Author: Stephen Nemeth

The Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senate, in a packed Studenmund Room in the Johnson Student Center late Monday night, voted unanimously for the creation of a diversity and equity branch of ASOC. ASOC is also in the process of finalizing the Campus Safety Committee, which Chief of Campus Safety Victor Clay requested to improve communication between his department and the student body.

Diversity and Equity Branch

The newly passed proposal, which authorizes the creation of a Diversity and Equity Board (DEB), will now head to a campus-wide vote. DEB would operate as an independent branch of the ASOC that would, according to the proposal’s text, “support student and faculty-led initiatives that foster a campus climate of inclusivity.” The board would be comprised of a faculty member, a non-voting ASOC Senate liaison and nine voting members, who would be appointed through an internal application and interview process, according to the proposal. It would receive its own budget, funded by a $10 increase in student body fees.

DEB was developed by the ASOC diversity committee and proposed by four of the committee’s members—Kerry Sakimoto (senior), Karen Romero (junior), Abhilasha Bhola (junior) and Adrian Adams (sophomore).

According to Sakimoto, the board will be a forum for marginalized groups to voice their concerns.

“We want the Diversity and Equity Board to be a really community-centered and community-based organization on campus,” Sakimoto said. “So people can definitely bring things that they have on campus—concerns, problems, even things that they want to see happen on campus—to DEB because right now there is not really any structure or system in place for students to bring concerns to, to raise issues of awareness.”

The campus-wide vote on DEB will take place sometime next semester. In order for the initiative to pass, at least 20 percent of the student body must participate in the vote, with at least two-thirds of students voting in favor of the measure, according to ASOC President Chris Weeks (junior).

Campus Safety Committee

ASOC Senate is also finalizing the Campus Safety Committee at the request of Clay, who wanted a place where students could bring their concerns to the attention of Campus Safety.

“It will help me understand the needs of the Oxy campus community and how the Campus Safety Department is perceived, both of which will help me better utilize personnel, create better enforcement and patrol policies and procedures and become a more effective department,” Clay said via email.

Clay will serve on the committee along with ASOC Senator Keven Duran (senior) and nine other students from across campus, including cultural clubs, Greek organizations, the LGBTQ community, off-campus students and sports teams. Duran, who is recruiting students to serve on the committee, saw the need to improve Campus Safety’s relationship with students during last week’s general assembly on party culture.

“Just from being present at that meeting I feel that students feel a particular way and they do not usually get to voice these concerns with the people who need hear them,” Duran said. “Students talk about their concerns with Campus Safety amongst themselves but they never discuss it with Campus Safety so I think it is important to create that avenue, to create that dialogue.”

The committee is set to convene next semester, according to Duran, but a specific date has not been set.

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