SGA will require diversity, LGBTQ training next year


Selena Favela

Student body president, Paige Hungate, speaks during the SGA session.

Beginning next year, all members of the Wichita State Student Government Association will be required to attend six, hour-long training sessions offered by the university.

The training sessions include Gender Diversity, Diversity in the Workplace, Safe Zone LGBTQ, Recognizing Microaggressions, Green Zone training hosted by Veteran Student Services, and a mental health training session hosted by the Counseling and Testing Center.

The Student Senate passed the resolution Wednesday with 33 votes in favor, three votes against, and four abstentions.

Freshman sen. Anisia Brumley said that the training is a great way for senators to learn about people and viewpoints that they may otherwise ignore.

“I think that a lot of our issues with communication and how we interact with each other a lot of the time comes from ignorance of each other’s culture,” said Brumley. “We’re not asking anyone to adopt a new culture or change ideology.”

“We need to understand that people think different ways and that’s okay.”

Fine Arts sen. Xan Mattek agreed, adding that the trainings “are a good reminder of sensitivities that you may not face every day.”

“It’s good to be reminded that other people feel differently than you, think differently than you, have different bodies than you, and have different minds than you,” Mattek said.

A few senators held reservations.

At-large sen. Jeremy Hoover said that mandatory training sessions are ineffective and that the time commitment is too burdensome.

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

Hoover added that he believes a better alternative would be communication training.

“Communication training, for instance, would teach you to see someone for who they are rather than what color they are and I just think that’s much more important” Hoover said.

Returning Adult sen. Kathy Bond said that senators don’t have the time for additional mandatory training.

SGA chief of operations Kylen Lawless said that the resolution would not affect this session and that it will be enacted at the beginning of next year’s session.

Members of the SGA cabinet, including student body president Paige Hungate and vice president Breck Towner, completed diversity training in May following an alleged racially-charged incident involving Hungate’s parents and former student body president Joseph Shepard.

“Training can only go so far, though — actual implementation and change are necessary to truly impact and advocate for marginalized students,” Hungate said in a May 23 SGA statement.