College pays students $10 hourly to 'celebrate diversity'

Bryn Mawr College has hired student “Community Diversity Assistants” for at least $10 per hour to “help the Bryn Mawr College community understand and celebrate its diversity.”

The newly launched “Community Diversity Assistants” program has hired 13 students who will be dispatched to dorms to serve as “mediators for conflicts and disputes around issues of diversity” and will hold “office hours” to answer students’ questions about diversity.

While the administration itself normally plans events related to diversity on campus, the Diversity Assistants will do so as well, with “race, socioeconomic class, gender identity, [and] sexuality” programming themes.

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Namrata Basu, the co-leader of the program and a junior Math major at Bryn Mawr, told Campus Reform in an interview that students came up with the idea for the program, and that it’s especially needed in “this political climate.”

"We talk about racism, gender, sexuality, elitism, ethnicity among other things,” she said, adding that she hopes to have “conversations with people who don't agree with us,” because Bryn Mawr is a “very different” environment from where most students grew up, suggesting that not all students come from the same cultural norms.

“We're here to have conversations that may or may not be dinner table conversations for many students,” Basu said. “Students come from very different backgrounds and we're here to facilitate conversations about that.”

While she argued that “we're not here to tone police [students] or anything,” she noted that the program is indeed “here to make sure the campus a safe space for everyone" To that end, Basu praised the program for giving students an opportunity to be involved in dorm life and to host events on campus, a privilege normally reserved for admins or RAs.

[RELATED: Students get $11/hour to 'advance social justice and diversity']

According to Basu, the program, is funded by the Pensby Center at Bryn Mawr. Otherwise known as the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Pensby Center also funds a number of other programs, such as a social justice-themed summer institute and a two-and-a-half day social justice immersion experience.

While Basu declined to comment on the exact pay students earn, she did confirm that all CDAs are paid by the Pensby Center, and that they’re paid in accordance with school policy, which stipulates that students must not be paid less than $10 an hour.

Campus Reform reached out to the Pensby Center and Bryn Mawr Media Relations by phone and email to confirm Basu’s account, but neither responded our requests for comment in time for publication.  

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