Students’ Advisory Committee address multicultural students’ issues with WSU


Regents university student body presidents and vice presidents assessed how Wichita State is meeting multicultural students’ needs at Wednesday’s Student’s Advisory Committee meeting.

Ryan Kelly, student senator at Kansas State University and chair of the Student Advisory Committee’s diversity and inclusion task force, said the task force is charged with analyzing “what’s going on at each university in term of diversity and inclusion.”

Kelly and the rest of the taskforce met with student leaders and Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Marché Fleming-Randle before Wednesday’s meeting to discuss how WSU is accommodating its multicultural students.

Kelly said the university’s staff and faculty are not representative of a diverse student body, and that even the ethnic studies department is lacking in diversity.

“WSU is the most diverse campus in Kansas, but that diversity in the student body is not reflected by faculty and staff,” Kelly said. “So you get into a classroom and you’re trying to learn about your own identity, but it’s being taught by someone who doesn’t look like you.

“We’re finding that that’s a major disconnect.”

Kelly said the task force was encouraged by the potential cluster hire of Latinx faculty discussed at Faculty Senate in October.

Kelly also addressed multicultural students’ relationship with SGA.

“We kind of touched on the disconnect that exists between multicultural students and SGA,” Kelly said. “That’s something that all our universities are struggling with.”

Task force members said student senators seemed hesitant to actually write legislation pertinent to issues of diversity and inclusion.

“It was mentioned that there are a lot of issues being brought up, but no one is willing to actually write the legislation,” a member of the diversity and inclusion taskforce said.

After the meeting, Student Body President Paige Hungate said she is working to help senators understand that it is their prerogative to create such legislation.

“Right now, we’re helping senators become better advocates for the issues that they’re concerned about and then helping them understand that they’re the ones who are writing the legislation, so if they want legislation to be proposed and adopted by the student government, they are the ones that need to introduce that,” Hungate said.

“It’s always been the thing that we, the executive team, doesn’t write legislation.”

Kelly said WSU, like other Kansas universities, can still do more to accommodate for multicultural students’ needs.

“I will say that, from what we heard in that meeting, there are definitely mechanisms being proposed to be put in place to remedy some of those issues, but they’re still very present, and I think that that’s a thing we’re finding across the board in Kansas.”