CSG Brief Oct. 22 to Nov. 12: Diversity, public safety and community concerns raised in recent meetings

CSG Brief Oct. 22 to Nov. 12: Diversity, public safety and community concerns raised in recent meetings

Alice Crow

The information in this brief spans multiple meetings and subjects.

Oct. 22

Dr. David Finegold, President of Chatham University, was the guest at the Oct. 22 CSG meeting. He spoke about the goals and progress of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). The goals of the office include:

  • Increase diversity of students, faculty and staff
  • Create a culture that’s welcoming to all and combats identity-based discrimination
  • Do everything possible to create an environment free from violence and harassment

Dr. Finegold listed many of the actions that the office was taking to achieve these goals and presented information on the current diversity level of the faculty and staff at Chatham. As of 2020, 87.3% of the faculty and staff at the university are white and 12.7% are people of color. The amount of people of color working at the university has slightly decreased since 2019.

Oct. 29

The meeting for this week was cancelled.

Nov. 5

Valerie Townsend, Chatham’s Chief of Police, was the guest speaker at the Nov. 5 CSG meeting. Members had a chance to ask her about public safety officers and the relationship they have with students on campus. CSG members were concerned that officers were parking in handicap parking spots. Chief Townsend reassured CSG that officers were allowed to park in handicap spots if they were responding to an emergency.

Members also questioned Chief Townsend about the state of cameras on campus and how officers interact with students. While the blue light cameras may have poorer quality, other cameras on campus capture video well. Members were made aware that if someone feels a Chatham officer is treating students disrespectfully, or not following University policy, Chief Townsend should be notified immediately.

Nov. 12

There was no guest speaker at the Nov. 12 CSG meeting.

Lalah Williams, vice president for student diversity and inclusion, encouraged members to participate in future intergroup dialogues and that the diversity council was looking for more members. The committee is working to get affirmed names on diplomas at this year’s graduation ceremony.

Heather Black, Dean of Students, provided updates at the meeting. A security committee will be assembled next semester. There also was a slight increase in COVID-19 cases on campus. Students should be aware that the common symptoms most students infected with the virus experience are runny noses, sore throats and fatigue. She also noted that there’s a departure website that students can reference for information on how to safely leave campus for the end of the semester. The University wants to do January COVID-19 testing for when students return for the spring semester, but more information on that will be available in December.

Ava Roberts, Junior class president, reminded members to sign a petition to change student employee paychecks from monthly to biweekly.

The president for each class presented their progress on class projects.

  • Senior – The senior gift would be decided soon.
  • Junior – Still working on microaggressions training. There is paint in the carriage house if students are interested in painting the spirit rock.
  • Sophomore – Nothing to report.
  • First-year class – Currently putting together a student poll and working to provide free hygiene products in student bathrooms.

The majority of the rest of the meeting focused on the Republican Perspective opinion piece that was recently published in the Communiqué. The opinion piece was written by the president of Chatham’s Young Republicans club and was a part of a series on student political ideas. Although members of CSG reiterated that the organization is technically non-partisan, certain members were upset about the opinions expressed in the piece and stated that they had heard concern from others students who did not like the piece. Multiple members of CSG said that they would be interested in writing a response to the opinion piece.

Michaela DeLauter contributed to this report.