Student Advisory Committee for Diversity
In Spring 2018, Vice Provost for Diversity Edmund T. Gordon met with UT Student Government’s 2017 president Alejandrina Guzman, as well as with 2018 vice president Mehraz Rahman and 2017 financial director Eric Saldanha, to discuss the development of Cultural Diversity Flags and the possibility of student involvement in sections of the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (UDIAP) related to faculty development. Their sincere interest in educating students, faculty, and administrators on such matters and instituting real change was apparent.
In Fall 2018, Vice Provost Gordon formed the Student Advisory Committee for Diversity to meet with him on a regular basis to have important conversations concerning UT Austin diversity, equity, and inclusion matters and to explore a path to improvement. Since its inception, the committee has grown and now includes representation from Student Government, Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), and the Senate of College Councils – representation that is essential to voice and act on the concerns of both undergraduate and graduate students in relation to faculty. Officers have also served as ex officio members on the Council of Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity (CREED), the Council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion (Q+AEI), and the University Faculty Gender Equity Council (UFGEC).
Committee Work and Accomplishments
Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, the members of the 2020-2021 Student Advisory for Committee were committed to the development of diversity, inclusion, and equity at The University of Texas at Austin. The members of the Student Advisory Committee for Diversity have been integral in the organization of the Heman Sweatt Gallery and Precursors – East Mall commemorations, and through their hard work have been able to accomplish the following:
- The creation of a student interest group, the Student East Mall Advisory Task Force (SEMATF), which is made up of 30 University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate and Graduate students. The students in the SEMATF serve as the student stakeholders in the Heman Sweatt and Precursors-East Mall commemorations and provide feedback, review landscaping and construction plans, and serve as the voice of the students – ensuring that all students are heard and represented in these commemorations.
- The securement of funds for the students serving in the SEMATF, allowing the SEMATF to become one of the first diversity interest groups to provide monetary support for its members.
- Supporting the continued circulation of the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (UDIAP).
Accomplishments of the 2019-2020 and 2018-2019 Student Advisory Committee for Diversity included the following:
- Development of a diversity statement inclusive and representative of diverse campus community members
- Faculty Council vote and acceptance of a university Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement (See first item under Business & Legislation at: https://facultycouncil.utexas.edu/june-15-2020-faculty-council-meeting)
- Development of a Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan (in progress)
- Faculty flags highlighted on course registration indicating participation in inclusive classroom teaching training
Student Advisory Committee for Diversity Membership
Britta Hanson, Queer Graduate Student Agency Director & Q+AEI ex officio member
Sarah Heise, Voting Graduate Student Agency Director & UFGEC ex officio member
Anagha Kikkeri, Student Government President & CREED ex officio member
Maia Mistry, Ignite Change Board of Directors
Hadiza Mohammed, GSA Diversity and Engagement Liaison & UFGEC ex officio member
Vinit Shah, Student Government Chief of Staff
Mackenzie Smith, Student Government Policy Director
Veda Yagnik, Senate of College Councils Equity and Inclusion Director
Larisa Barreto, Graduate Student Agency Director, GSA
Camron Goodman, Student Government President
Kate Holloway, GSA Administrative Affairs Director & CREED ex officio member
Nikita Telang, Student Government Executive Board Advocacy Director & CREED ex officio member
Payton Anderson, GSA Vice President & CREED ex officio member
Rajya Atluri, Student Government Executive Board Advocacy Director & CREED ex officio member
Samantha Fuchs, GSA President & UFGEC ex officio member
Camron Goodman, University-wide representative, Student Government
Aysha Moneer, Equity and Inclusion Policy Director, Student Government
Eric Nava-Perez, Latin-American Studies, GSA