The university assesses social justice on campus


Donovan Wilson Reporter

Southern’s community, faculty and staff came together to assess where social justice is on the campus now, where it came from and where it’s slated to go in the near and distant future.  

On November 18, the campus held an online event titled “The State Of Social Justice At SCSU”. The point of this event was to allow students to see some of the major faculty members on campus explain what they have accomplished in terms of social justice as of right now and where they want to be in the future. At the end, the floor was opened up for a Q&A with questions from students to allow students the opportunity to achieve the answers they want.  

“What are some ideas you have for the community? What rules do you want us to follow?” said Jamil Harp, a student on the activism committee.  

 The intention behind this event seemed to be allowing the student body an unfiltered place to hear everything the university is doing for social justice, which is not usually the case. There was then the opportunity to directly provide what the students want the faculty to do going forward with social justice endeavors. It was overall a useful tool for the whole community as social justice remains one of Southern’s biggest goals and it allowed a gauge for faculty, staff and students alike as to where  the community as a whole is at.  

“We have a lot to talk about today. We have a lot to share today. Those of us in leadership positions are here to learn and listen before offering resources to help” said Joseph Bertolino, university president.  

The campus has been able to pull off multiple social justice activities this semester even within the new COVID-19 world at hand. These events include but were not limited to the black lives matter rally that was held on campus and the campuses various multicultural events. A lot of these things being pulled off was attributed to massive help from Diane Ariza and her team of people. 

“In this COVID-19 climate, they were able to accomplish the rally, the voter teach in and this today” said Diane Ariza,  vice president of diversity.  

Ariza was an integral piece of this town hall meeting. She has only been a part of the Southern community for around 4 months but along with the rest of the diversity team, she has been able to accomplish a great deal and allow southern to attack these issues in ways they never could before. Ariza was also the moderator of this conversation and made sure everything was logged, everyone was introduced and time was accounted for.  

Each panelist was introduced in the beginning of the meeting and they went one by one in succession after that. Each panelist had five minutes of time to talk about where they are at with social justice in their specific departments and where they are heading with those initiatives. It allowed for a very in depth look at what each department beyond just professors are doing in their individual lane to add to the bigger picture of social justice on the campus as a whole.  

Going forward, this will lead to a domino effect of social justice related projects popping up around campus. One of the major projects being put into motion is expanding the availability of gender inclusive bathrooms around campus and working on helping more with food insecurities from residential students.  

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