Student government presidents stand in solidarity against racial injustices

Alliciyia George

The presidents of the student government associations at each of the 28 Jesuit universities across the country came together to stand in solidarity against racial inequality.

They composed a letter stating their solidarity, and it was signed by student government presidents from all 28 schools.

Natalie Paul, outgoing vice president of the Student Government Association, said this is the first time that all 28 presidents have collaborated on an issue like this.

“David Tassone, SGA President of Loyola Marymount University has
spearheaded the efforts. It is a statement about race and representation
in hopes of sparking dialogue and change throughout the nation,” Paul said.

Loyola University New Orleans responded to the Black Collegians of Loyno’s concern about diversity on campus by hiring Liv Newman, sociology instructor, as the interim chief diversity officer.

Paul said she believes the conversation about diversity issues should not stop there.

“I think keeping the conversation about racial injustices and issues of
diversities going will be the most important part to our efforts as a
student body. Often times momentum is lost when the buzz about a topic
fizzles down, but as uncomfortable as the topic might be for some, it is
important that we keep pushing the agenda,” Paul said.

Diversity of Voices, a Harvard University study, stated women and minorities experience microagressions, comments or actions directed at minority groups that reinforce a stereotype, create an unwelcoming environment and could contribute to lower graduation rates in African American and Latino students than White and Asian American students with similar educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I think it’s just simply well over due. It’s sad that even in a place of
learning and growth students are facing injustices. I think our generation
has come to a point where we, for the most part, are able to see past
those attributes that separate people into categories. It has to start
somewhere so why not with us,” Paul said.

Courtney Williams, SGA adviser, said the presidents from each university’s student government communicate over email and meet during the summer during conferences, but this is the first time they have composed a letter like this.

“Issues surrounding diversity and inclusion were happening across the country, which was a catalyst to this conversation and the subsequent letter,” Williams said.

Williams said that while this is a country-wide collaboration, Loyola’s SGA will continue to take a stand against injustices on campus.

“SGA will continue working with student organization and administration to bring awareness to racial injustices,” Williams said.

Elisa Diaz, newly-elected SGA president, said she plans to continue working with other Jesuit leaders across the campus this summer.

“During the summer, I will be attending a conference with all of the Jesuit Student Boards called the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference and there I will be able to foster relationships with other universities and talk more about how we can fight for racial justice and equality on our campuses. The officers from the other Jesuit Universities are dedicated to the mission of our institutions and we strive to meet those standards of social justice and Ignatian ideals,” Diaz said.

Diaz points to Loyola’s administration as an example.

“The pact about solidarity against racial injustices I believe is so important for all of the SGA Presidents to keep in mind while they’re in office, especially at Jesuit Institutions across the United States,” Diaz said.