Diversity and student organizations at SHSU

Photo courtesy of Clay Banks at Unsplash.com

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion is tasked by Sam Houston State University with creating a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty and the community. However, a common concern with the office is that it is unclear if the events they host help create that inclusive environment.

For this semester, 22 of the 28 events the office has planned have either been workshops or courses. These kinds of courses and workshops are very popular with businesses who need to address racism in the workplace.

The problem with trying to implement this kind of corporate strategy at Sam Houston is that students are not employees. While something like this may work in an office, it is tough to say if it will work with a group of 20,000+ students.

The campus is a vibrant and diverse community because students want it to be. Students and their organizations have decided, like much of the country, that they value diversity and inclusion.

The university’s efforts do not always go unnoticed, and some groups see the good school is doing.

“From my perspective, I have witnessed more effort from the university to be an inclusive institution this semester,” President of the Mexican Student Association (MSA) Christie Padron said. “I do feel the university has granted my members more opportunities to engage with each other and get our mission out to more students of diverse backgrounds.”

The university is trying and that really means something in a world where they could easily get away with not doing anything at all. With that being said, the task of creating a diverse and inclusive environment is not over until the campus has true diversity and complete inclusion.

Student and university organizations will continue their efforts to ensure that things like racism, sexism and homophobia are not a part of campus culture, and all feel welcome and safe.

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