CODE aims to ‘scale up’ efforts

The co-chairs of Allegheny College’s Council on Diversity and Equity attended Allegheny Student Government’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 to update the organization on the council’s recent activities. Ande Diaz, associate provost for diversity and organizational development and Michael Mehler, associate professor of communication arts and theater, currently chair the committee.

The committee, which is comprised of 13 faculty members and four student representatives responsible for advising on issues of diversity and equity, was the subject of a call for greater transparency from ASG Director of Diversity and Inclusion Connor Racine, ’16, at the Sept. 29 meeting. In his weekly report, Racine called for more student involvement in CODE while projects and initiatives are in the developmental stages.   

“I feel that the public should have input before everything is all hammered out,” Racine said at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Diaz said at the Oct. 6 meeting that she feels transparency is something CODE is working on maintaining. She said she hopes by becoming more accessible to students, the council can work to be more transparent.

“I think part of the transparency of the administration is to be available,” Diaz said.

Diaz and Mehler outlined current projects and initiatives on which CODE is currently working. Mehler also explained what the purpose of the council is, pointing out that it is an advisory committee so it does not have the power to independently implement changes. Despite its limitations, Mehler stressed the importance of the council’s work.

“The work of CODE is to keep issues of diversity and equity on the radar,” he said.

Diaz said the council is currently looking into furthering a pilot program to help make textbooks more affordable at Allegheny, making class materials available online.

“Based on the pilot program I would like to see us scale up our efforts,” Diaz said.

Diaz and Mehler also said they would like to see more student input on the work of the committee. Diaz explained the committee is looking for proposals on how to spend a new diversity “seed fund.”

The new fund, according to Diaz, is designed to fund some sort of program or initiative which will positively impact diversity or equity at Allegheny in the long term. Diaz said the council is looking for new and exciting ideas that will have a long-lasting impact on the community.

“We are not just looking for the usual suspects,” Diaz said.

According to Diaz, the fund will award between $500-3,000. Submissions will be reviewed by CODE. The deadline for the submission of proposals is Oct. 30.

Racine also announced the successful first meeting of Pan-Diversity Allegheny group, which he said seeks to bring together the many student groups on campus devoted to diversity.

Levi Lundell, ’17, ASG director of sustainability also announced in his weekly report he will be pushing for the formation of a college committee on sustainability. Lundell said he was surprised to learn that no such committee existed, given the college’s commitment to sustainability.

“We basically have a college committee for everything, but not sustainability,” Lundell said.