OPINION: The Office of Diversity and Inclusion must operate on a low budget, and that sucks


Easton Thompson

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion works to bring inclusivity to campus. Their office is located on the second floor of the Rhatigan Student Center.

Wichita State is considered the most diverse school in the state of Kansas. For many minority students, RSC 208 is where they can be found on campus in their free time.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is considered “your home away from home,” according to the WSU website. For many of these minority students, it feels like just that.

The office operates on an overall budget of about $253,000. After total staff salaries and benefits, that leaves only about $79,000 a year for supplies, office materials, furniture, and programming, ODI Director Alicia Sanchez told The Sunflower. The office has not seen a budget increase in the last six years.

To me, this budget does not seem fit for all the programming that the office does throughout the year.

The office was able to add a LGBTQ coordinator position funded through student fees, but they did not receive additional funds to program that new position. This makes no sense. In order to program all these new positions, the office needs more funding.

Additional office expenses include paper, ink, and food for events.

If you walk into the ODI office at any time, you will find an abundance of minority students and Greeks life affiliates. It attracts students of color from all around the campus.

The space is filled with conversation, laughter, and good times. The office recently expanded in order to better accommodate the large crowd it attracts.

This is practically nothing considering that the K-state Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs office is housed inside an entire building.

If WSU is the most diverse school in the state, why is the ODI being housed in such as small space? Why has it not seen a budget increase? How can Wichita State pride itself on being the most diverse campus when it does little to fund diversity programs?

To me, it seems that the office is lacking adequate funding and stretching its resources thin. Resources will only get thinner if the office chooses to expand its programming, as it almost always wants to do for the good of the students. The problem? They are told that there is not enough money to go around.

WSU should pay more attention to the office that helps to retain the diverse groups of students the university claims to be so proud to represent.