by PC Democrats Executive Board 2020-2021
The Providence College Democrats took on the task this semester of hosting a week’s worth of events leading up to election week. Planning for these events began over the summer of 2020 and lasted up until the very last minutes leading up to each event.
Clubs and departments on campus were given the opportunity over the summer to co-sponsor any of our events, leading to 11 total co-sponsors between the four panel events. The panel events that had been initially planned were, in order: women’s suffrage, the “Black Vote,” voter suppression, and the Electoral College.
Even with all of this work completed in advance, when it came to selecting panelists to speak on each of these events, the panelists willing and kind enough to offer their time and expertise were not racially diverse. We reached out to a racially diverse range of speakers; however, we received many “no’s,” as they felt as though they did not have the expertise to speak on these topics or were not available at the times of the events.
The lack of racially diverse speakers is therefore no fault of the speakers themselves, but is rather a reflection of the lack of diversity at PC as an institution. We cannot thank our speakers enough for taking the time to participate and their energies in our projects.
Despite the success of the events, this experience was quite discouraging at times for our executive board that put in countless hours of effort to make sure these panels ran smoothly. We felt this way because we were struck yet again with the reality that Providence College does not have a diverse enough faculty. PC is not diverse enough in terms of the gender, race, and sexual orientation of the faculty they choose to hire.
What this says about PC is that it does not represent the demographics seen within the U.S. in terms of the variety of experts it provides to its students. For an institution of higher education, it is incredibly problematic that perspectives on political issues and issues that pertain to the interests of their student body cannot be easily found or presented.
With that, we urge department heads to set their efforts towards hiring a diverse range of faculty, as nearly all departments on campus need work in being able to present a variety of experiences and viewpoints.
We urge the administration to hire diverse faculty and staff, as well, in the positions which remain unfilled, and we urge the administration to quicken the pace of hiring a chief diversity officer (CDO), as this is an incredibly important deficiency in the current operations of the administration.
We also fully acknowledge that there have been strides made in faculty hired, and that there are many departments, programs, and clubs that are working to make continued progress on exactly these issues—such work does not go unnoticed.
The events held during election week are to be a tradition of PC Democrats from this point on, and with each year, we hope to see them grow in the perspectives they give platforms to and represent the interests of all demographics.
Now is the time for action, PC.