Kailey Krantz-Diaz | Contributing Writer
The greatest treasure known to FIU’s university life is having the largest, and most diverse student body in South Florida. So why did no one defend it during the Investiture Ceremony?
During the ceremony, the university’s newly-instated president, Kenneth A. Jessell, and other state and local representatives applauded the school’s recent accomplishments for growing their programs and outranking other schools in their excellence.
However, when Jessell was asked about the importance of diversity in the school amid Senate Bill 266, a law that prohibits spending on activities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, being enacted and other measures taken by the state government to stall diversity, he would finally mention diversity.
“We will have quality regulation that still reflects the diversity of our institutions, diversity of our communities, the diversity of our employees and the importance of strengthening all of those that are critical to our state,” Jessel said to pantherNOW.
His response doesn’t satisfy me.
While development in different majors and programs is crucial in expanding the university, those offerings wouldn’t be reputable if these opportunities weren’t open to minorities, genders and disabilities.
Programs like FIU’s law school flourish because of the dedicated student body and faculty. Celebrating FIU’s academic expansion is hypocritical if they’re no acknowledging the people that make their successes possible.
This statement has the same essence as a politician promising political action during their campaign, without the plans to follow through once elected.
If Jessell fails to deliver this promise, this will earn him not only the ire of students and faculty who have been fighting against the implementation of the legislation but also damage his reputation as an open and inclusive member of campus administration.
The president’s priority should be cultivating diversity and protecting students and faculty against hateful and oppressive acts of violence, hate speech and discrimination throughout campus, as highlighted in the president’s position criteria.
Throughout the semesters I’ve been with this university, the Department of English has done wonders to promote diversity and inclusion in their courses. They have offered courses in Caribbean authors, Shakespeare plays, disability studies, sexual citizenship in LGBT narratives, and many more that expose students to diverse authors they wouldn’t have heard about otherwise.
I wouldn’t have been exposed to the works of Patricia Smith, Jamaica Kincaid and Jennine Crucet, if it hadn’t been for the Department of English’s “deep commitment to fostering an intellectual environment premised on and nurtured by human diversity in its many forms”, as per the department’s Diversity Statement.
In summary, without these people, there would be no successful programs.
Give the diverse student body the protection they deserve to express themselves freely and the recognition for their contributions to the university.
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.