Diversity, inclusion, & Campus Climate
Incorporating Inclusivity in Required Student Org Training
Student organizations are currently required to undergo trainings to remain an active organization on campus; however, these trainings do not include diversity and inclusion discussions or education. Lack of inclusivity is an issue that touches upon all aspects of campus and all student organizations, so it is imperative that students are culturally competent and well equipped to address situations that include racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of hate. These trainings would present the opportunity to discuss topics such as implicit bias, privilege, and being an effective ally.
Creating More Reflection Spaces on Campus
Our campus does not currently have adequate spaces for meditation and prayer. For example, some Muslim students pray multiple times a day, and often have to do so in confined spaces. That’s why we want to expand reflection spaces on campus, including in the EERC, the SAC, and in conjunction with current construction projects in the PCL. We also want to provide a map of these spaces on campus to make them as open and easy to find as possible.
Supporting Longhorn EMS to Become a First-Responder Organization
Response data from 2016-17 showed an average response time of 9.1 minutes for on-campus medical emergencies across the board. Every minute elapsed after cardiac arrest without response reduces chances of survival by 10%, and the Austin standard for response time is 5 minutes. You shouldn’t have half the chance of surviving a heart attack on Speedway that you do on Guadalupe. Longhorn EMS is an established student organization, but the University has to approve for them to provide care. Student EMTs pass the same exams that any other EMT does, and can navigate inner campus better than an ambulance. We want to make sure that students are safe and receive the same basic standard of emergency care as anyone else in Austin. There are over 250 student EMT programs nationwide, and we want to work with administration to include Longhorn EMS in this number.
Establishing an LGBTQIA+ Support Fund
The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) provides a space on campus for Longhorns to explore issues surrounding gender and sexuality, while also responding to the needs of students who identify as women and LGBTQIA+ members of campus. Many LGBTQIA+ students who are served by the GSC face adversity due to familial disapproval of their identity. Some even experience homelessness or financial strain as a result of being disowned or kicked out of the house. The establishment of this fund would benefit a large number of Longhorns. We will work to model this after the VAV Survivor’s Fund in the manner that we intend to cover expenses related to their safety, medical wellbeing, and housing. By providing this funding, the GSC will be able to expand emergency stopgap support for these students to get back on their feet in their time of need. It’s important for us to support our fellow students, especially those whose lives have been disrupted personally and financially for being who they are.
Installing a Backdoor in the MEC
The Multicultural Engagement Center is a space for students of diverse backgrounds to meet and work in a comfortable setting. Located in the SAC, it also houses six agencies that represent different marginalized groups on campus. Recently, there have been incidents where individuals have walked in and started loudly threatening the people inside. Currently, there is only one entrance into the MEC. As expressed by people who regularly spend time in the MEC, there is a need for an alternative exit (i.e. a back door) when dangerous incidents prevent them from safely evacuating through the front.