January 26, 2020

Working Towards PC Equality: IDEI Department Establishes Student Representative Groups

posted on: Thursday December 5, 2019

Student representatives meet to discuss future plans. Nora Johnson ’20/THECOWL

by Hannah Langley ’21

News Co-Editor

For several years now, Providence College administration, students, and faculty have been working towards creating a PC200 plan that includes many initiatives, such as the promotion of more diversity and inclusion on campus. Recently, the office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (IDEI) at PC has established two student groups to help the College fulfill this goal. 

These two groups, the Advocates of a Beloved Community (ABC) and the Student Diversity Advisory Council (SDAC), are both comprised of around a dozen students, each representing a different student organization or club on campus. 

According to a formal document from Quincy Bevely, assistant vice president of institutional diversity, the “Advocates” and council members “will be trained in areas related to cross-cultural understanding, micro-macro aggressions, restorative practices, and conflict resolution.” 

Furthermore, ABC will provide the PC community with events that will promote further awareness about bias and hate, giving students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to, according to the same document, “engage in anti-bias education, advocacy, and solidarity.”

As previously mentioned, multiple students were chosen for each of the groups, representing various PC clubs and organizations, including Student Congress, Board of Programmers (BOP), Friars Club, Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA), Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), Stopping Homophobia, Eliminating Prejudice and Restoring Dignity (SHEPARD), Campus Ministry, Orientation Leaders (OL), Residence Assistants (RA), Peer Mentoring Program (PMP), Horizons, Providence Immigration Rights Coalition (PIRC), Brotherhood, NAACP, ALPHA, ESports, The Cowl, and Believers of Word (BOW). 

Jacqueline Peterson, special advisor to the president, talked about her role in the IDEI department and her part in creating these groups. “The priority goal,” she said, “has been to implement a structure and collaborative partnerships on campus to identify the strategic direction for the College’s DEI initiative.” Her role in this is to provide leadership to not only the student groups, but also to the educators and faculty in the IDEI department. 

The purpose of SDAC, Peterson said, is to “empower students to lead and promote a campus environment that is committed to equity, social justice, and inclusive excellence.” ABC’s role is to “develop appropriate educational, supportive, and restorative strategies to address campus climate issues that may arise in the wake of bias-related incidents and prevent further occurrences.” 

Along with Bevely and Peterson, Nick Sailor ’17, the director of training and education for IDEI, and Kalan Lewis, a current graduate assistant, have had an integral part in making these two student groups and continuing to work with them and the PC community to promote diversity and inclusion. 

Earlier this year, Bevely selected students to represent each of these organizations. Acklynn Byamugisha ’20, advocate for BMSA, talked about the selection, saying, “I was chosen by Quincy [Bevely] and I was more than thrilled to take on the position.” Both Byamugisha and Elizabeth Duffy ’23, advocate for Campus Ministry, talked about how their roles will be in building more respect around campus, creating a greater cultural awareness, and highlighting differences across cultures. Byamugisha talked more about this, saying, “Multiculturalism goes beyond race [and] what the eyes are able to see.”

Duffy is hopeful that the group will be able to cultivate awareness and change on campus, saying, “I feel like there is always room to grow in becoming a close-knit community of friends, and I’m hopeful that this newfound deeper sense of family and love will radiate into the world when students graduate.”

Ricardo Guzman ’20, representative for the SDAC and president of SHEPARD, talked about how their group is also going to promote equality and awareness, saying they plan on having meetings starting next semester to hear more about what various clubs and organizations have planned for promoting diversity and change. “It is one thing to work with the student body,” said Guzman, “but through this group we hope to create institutional change.”

On Nov. 13, both groups met in Moore Hall to begin training with Diane Goodman, who has devoted her life to training, consulting, teaching, speaking, and writing about diversity and social justice. Goodman came to PC’s campus to meet with the students from both of these groups in order to prepare them in their roles and for their lives in the future, as well. 

Both groups will be beginning work next semester, and Bevely is excited for what is to come.

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