University of Georgia students Amber Smith and Annmarie Nwokoro sat down to discuss what diversity on campus looks like after a video came out on social media showing members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity using racist language and referencing slavery.
Having a diverse campus not only helps minorities feel less alone when dealing with situations like the racist video, Nwokoro said, but establishing a more diverse group of faculty and staff is also a necessary step.
“They [UGA] still have a long ways to go in my opinion, but there are steps that they are taking that people could at least recognize at the same time,” Nwokoro said.
Smith and Nwokoro want those steps to also include addressing the racist video incident in a way that shows minorities on campus that the university is creating a welcoming environment.
Based on this conversation, Brean’a Parker from the College of Education’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mentioned what she thinks needs to be considered when looking at diversity on UGA’s campus.
“From my experience, there are a lot of people from diverse, racial, ethic backgrounds, as well as gender and sexual identities and international students and class. I feel like when it comes to recruiting and bringing people in, we have that,” she said.
However, sometimes from my experience as both a counselor here, as well as interacting with different people in this college and outside of this college, it seems like there’s not a lot of equity,” Parker said.
For Parker, this raises a question.
“I don’t think we do a great job of sustaining and retaining people, so how do we create a sense of equity, how do we address the different unique and individual needs of people who have different intersectional identities?” she said.
Even though there are a lot of different offices and organizations to help find that answer, Parker still thinks there’s room for improvement and room at the table for discussion.
“Thinking about critical inclusion, who’s at the table, who’s missing, who are not invited, who don’t feel comfortable being at this table when we’re thinking about the decisions that are being made for a whole student body who look very different and have very different experiences,” Parker said.
Veronica Ogbe is a senior majoring in journalism.