Diversity Initiatives Committee kicks off Social Justice Corner to spark discussion

Hello reader, welcome to the SoJo Corner, bought to you by ASG’s Diversity Initiatives Committee and The Campus.

The Social Justice Corner, or SoJo Corner, is a bi-weekly print and online column that covers topics and issues within the realms of social justice. The Diversity Initiatives Committee is an ASG committee that consists of ASG senators and, constituents. It includes a group of individuals who have made a commitment to promote diversity and social justice on campus.

As an official ASG Committee, DIC collaborates with the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success to promote programs such as the Commitment to Inclusivity. The Commitment to Inclusivity is an initiative passed through ASG to foster a more inclusive and educated student community by encouraging executive members of clubs to go through Diversity and Inclusion trainings such as Bystander and Safe Zone Training to create a better community for the club and the campus as a whole. Not only do we work closely with other organizations on campus, we work with administration as well to interact with the community.

To begin, we will define what social justice actually is. According to Matthew Robinson of Appalachian State University, social justice is “… promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” Basically, social justice is working towards equality while valuing all people of different backgrounds. This includes women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, and rights for people of color just to name a few. Social justice includes topics that battle and challenge injustices like police brutality against people of difference, inequality within the United States education system, challenging equal pay and equal opportunity for all women. Although social justice seems like it only affects a select few groups of people, it affects everyone who lives in a community.

The community we live in is Allegheny and by learning and acknowledging that social justice issues exist, then we will make better, more well-rounded individuals who are to become global citizens once we graduate and enter the world. In our articles, we will provide The Campus with challenging and thought provoking conversation happening in our society that will allow readers to reflect about what their role in social justice, and in this world, truly means.

Over the past two to three years, social justice has been handled silently and with great stress on students on Allegheny’s campus. When incidents that affect the student body occur, somewhere between the student population, several layers of institutional power and cooperation, the unified message and action plans get lost in translation.

If the Allegheny community is more educated as a whole on the workings of social justice and issues affecting the day to day living in our society, then we can better recognize how to address them. DIC is taking the initiative to provide a space where the Allegheny community can read about social justice and activism in The SoJo Corner.

This past week, DIC tabled in the Campus Center Lobby about the topic of community. Our questionnaire had two questions that contributed to our overall tabling theme. The questions were: “What is a community and what would you like Allegheny’s to be like?” and “Has there been an incident where Allegheny’s community didn’t support you and your identity and how could Allegheny have made you feel like more of a supported member of the community?”

These questions were created to attempt to reach three things: what Allegheny students wish the campus could be, what the campus actually is and how we can get to the aspirations of what the campus could be.

Around 100 students responded with their experiences on campus of great support and in some cases very little support. After recent events surrounding Kirk Nesset and after many voiced themselves at theforum on Oct. 3, DIC decided to seek people’s feelings about Allegheny’s community and educate others on some students’ silenced experiences.

Therefore, with the platform of The SoJo Corner, and with many upcoming events from the individuals that form DIC, expect more in the future. We are here to share information and invite members of our communities to think about their role on Allegheny’s campus and with the world.