University Senate Update: diversity planning, teaching evaluations, Imperial Valley campus and Asian Hate

File+photo.

Amal Younis

File photo.

by Sara Rott, Staff Writer

On May 6, San Diego State’s University Senate approved students from Imperial Valley to be included in the Senate. The Senate previously met on May 4 and passed a resolution to create a new mascot. 

Addition to Senate diversity planning Part A

In 2018, the Senate passed a resolution to create a campus wide diversity plan. At Thursday’s meeting, the Senate revised plans to implement a process for auxiliary courses, the colleges and departments to include faculty and staff equity, diversity and inclusion. 

When brought to the attention of the Senate, Vice President of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity Dr. J. Luke Wood announced the plan would add the Senate to the various groups of the DEI planning department. This motion was accepted.

Part B- DEI for Teaching Evaluations 

The Senate discussed a proposal from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee recommending adding a third open-ended question to faculty evaluations. 

Discussed in the last meeting, teaching evaluations given to students on their experience with the professor and class, would add additional open-ended comments. Amplifying an open-ended question: “Describe if the instructor created a welcoming environment for diverse communities and if the students of the inclusive communities supported?”

“How can we as a community be attentive to ensuring that students are having the kind of healthy emotional supportive informing experience that they would like to have in the classroom?” Woods said. 

This open-ended question would allow students to share experiences interacting with professors. Associated Students President Ashley Tejada voiced her opinions at the meeting. 

“Our entire campus community doesn’t just want this question added to faculty evaluations but students need it to be,” Tejada said. 

The motion was accepted. 

Student representatives from the Imperial Valley Campus

A motion was proposed to the Senate to appoint two students from SDSU Imperial Valley to the Senate. 

Representatives from Associated Students Imperial Valley came forward to voice concerns saying students should be a part of main campus decisions. 

Carlos Fitch, the incoming IV SDSU Associated Student President spoke for all the unrepresented students. “SDSU will rise and defy as a common faith, we will combine our forces,” he said.

Representatives would make helpful decisions that would impact the Imperial Valley campus. 

“I just want to emphasize how important this is and how historical this is for our campus, we cannot feel a part of SDSU unless we have adequate representation,” Senator and Psychology Professor Linda Abarbanell said. 

The motion passed with a two-thirds vote and no objections.

Asian Hate

Dr. V. Loh-Hagen, director of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Center at SDSU came forward asking to pass a resolution in response to the escalating anti-Asian hate. 

145 signatures were collected to support this incentive, outlining SDSU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Asking for support, to create a welcoming environment and support APIDA students, faculty and staff. 

Her resolution was to establish an Asian American Studies with a major and minor, and work with the College of Arts and Letters, along with reestablishing a department and hiring a chair and faculty. 

Debate surrounded the detail of the bullet point “re-establishing a department of Asian American Studies.” Senator Farid Abdel-Nour made a motion to remove this, explaining the importance of minors and majors but a department must be open-ended in discussions. 

Discussions were held before making a vote. Loh-Hagen was hesitant in removing the bullet point altogether and offered “considering to establish” to be added to the edit. 

Resolutions are a way for the Senate to make their desire known to the president.

Those in support against the motion to change it, spoke up to the resolution, “a department carries a lot more weight than a center or program” Senator Lianne Urada said. 

Wood also showed support for her motion to be passed as is. 

Editorial notes were taken into consideration. Vice Chair Nola Butler-Byrd, co-author of this resolution, agreed to stick with the language and nit-picking this point so extreme and to move onto voting. 

In the end, the Senate approved the resolution as written, 33-2 “reestablishing a department of Asian American Studies.

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