‘Everybody has to have a seat at the table’: WSU Athletic Department forms Diversity and Inclusion Council in hopes of continuing the conversation

The Wichita State Athletic Department formed a new Diversity and Inclusion Council this summer in response to the social unrest across the country. The council’s main purpose is to advance Shocker Athletics’ commitment toward diversity, inclusion and gender equity. 

Reginald McIntyre, who serves as the chair for the council, said he chose to be a member in hopes to make a difference.

“I wanted to make change,” McIntyre said in an interview with The Sunflower. “Our goal, our purpose is to advance Shocker Athletics’ commitment towards diversity and inclusion. For me, that’s something that I believe in. I want to make sure that everyone has the same experience at Wichita State.”

McIntyre said that another focus is education.

“We want to make sure that everyone’s educated on the resources that we have here at the university,” McIntyre said. “We just want people to know what’s happening around us and for anybody to use those types of resources. Wichita State has done a great job of investing in diversity and I believe in Dr. Golden’s mission.”

McIntyre also feels that being able to listen to what the student-athletes have to say will be a major key down the road. 

“Student-athletes need to have a voice, they want to have a voice,” McIntyre said. “Sometimes you have to sit back and listen to the athletes because they are going to tell us what’s needed and they’re going to tell us what’s wanted. We have a smart group here in Shocker Athletics. Our staff has done a great job of pushing for and making sure they’re voices are heard. In order to make change, everybody has to have a seat at the table.”

One of the student-athletes McIntyre has had an impact on is men’s basketball player Dexter Dennis. For Dennis, he felt it was a great opportunity given everything going on in the world. 

“I think there’s a lot of things going on in the world, dealing with race, diversity issues,” Dennis said. “[McIntyre] was just saying how much it would mean for me to actually be in the group and be a part of it. After just thinking about it, I actually thought it was a good opportunity, just trying to be a good example for everybody and make sure your voice is heard.”

Dennis also feels that the formation of the council will have an impact on other student-athletes and could encourage them to speak up more.

“It will kind of show them to speak up more because honestly at first I wasn’t really thinking my voice would even make a difference, but after talking to Reggie he explained to me that my voice would actually be heard and would actually make a difference,” Dennis said. “I hope that it would inspire (student-athletes) to join or even say something.”

One of the main initiatives that the council is focusing on is to get more people out to vote. On Aug. 19, the American Athletic Conference announced no competition or athletic activities would take place on Nov. 3 to better allow the student-athletes to vote. 

McIntyre feels that getting the student-athletes out to vote is a necessary step in allowing their voice to be heard. 

“I believe that every voice matters, we have to sit back and listen,” McIntyre said. “One way to make sure your voice is heard is to vote.”