Student gov mandates diversity training for members

Supporters argue that the trainings will help student senators better represent their diverse constituents, but opponents say forcing people to attend trainings against their will won't be effective.

By a 33-3 margin, the Wichita State University student government recently passed a bill mandating that all members complete six one-hour trainings on issues like diversity and microaggressions.

The Wichita State University student government (SGA) passed a resolution Wednesday that would require members of the SGA Senate, Cabinet, Student Advocate, Supreme Court, and the executive council to take diversity trainings.

According to The Sunflower, SB-60-076 passed the Student Senate by a 33-3 margin.

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If approved by the student body president, the resolution will go into effect next year, at which point SGA members will be required to complete six, hour-long training sessions on topics such as “Recognizing Microagressions,” “Gender Diversity,” “Diversity in the Workplace,” “Safe Zone LGBTQ,” as well as a “specialized mental health training session."

According to the Wichita State Office of Diversity and Inclusion website, the “Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace” training focuses on “Recognizing and understanding microaggressions,” “Social identities,” and “Introducting [sic] the Matrix of Oppression,” among others.

Maribel Sanchez, a senator who voted for the bill, told Campus Reform that she believes “the diversity trainings will be effective especially for those senators who feel the need to know more about their constituents, thus being able to represent them better.”

Sanchez adds that she hopes the new requirement will have a positive impact on campus, acknowledging that “there are some senators disappointed with the time commitment it brings,” but she says if they are “truly in SGA for the right reasons,” the trainings should prove “very educational for them.”

“If SGA begins to do this in an effective manner, more groups on campus will as well and then the University can be more diversely trained,” Sanchez stated.

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However, some senators were not as happy that the bill was passed.

Jeremy Hoover, an at-large senator for the SGA, told The Sunflower that the trainings are ineffective and time-consuming.

“Requiring six hours of additional training is a lot for a senator,” said Hoover. “Requiring training such as diversity or LGBTQ, or whatever other trainings there are—requiring things like that don’t [sic] work. People don’t want to go to these trainings. It’s not teaching people anything.”

The bill has not been enacted yet, and is currently awaiting the signature of Student Body President Paige Hungate.

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