Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OMSA Advisory Board Update by Karim Rupani

On November 6th, the Advisory Board held its third meeting of the year and was finally able to meet its Student Government Representative, Benjamin Hammer. Benjamin’s role as liaison is essentially to listen to concerns OMSA raises and then bring them up in student government meetings so that they can be addressed openly. In addition to meeting Benjamin, the Advisory Board also undertook the task of beginning to unpack a few of the goals that it has set for itself (in terms of the most pressing issues and concerns that need to be addressed). To this end, the Advisory Board made significant headway in assessing the situation of numerous groups on campus, differentiated by both race and gender.

Integral to the Board’s discussion, to be sure, was what OMSA could proactively do to encourage, reassert, and deepen its commitment to a broader range of students. A few Board members also recognized, moreover, that some of the issues that need to be addressed concern affairs that go beyond OMSA and might therefore have to be addressed on a greater level (i.e. through the University itself or another similarly expansive body). In terms of what the Board and OMSA can do, however, the Board identified the need to give attention to specific population groups within the student body that might be forsaken in the multicultural experience. The main challenge the Board identified in deliberation appeared to be the level of specificity to generality through which OMSA events should be held and to whom they should cater. Ultimately, though, a consensus emerged in that the Board’s main responsibility should be to remove any stigma present for any group or student on campus from coming to OMSA and benefiting from the host of enriching experiences it offers.
For the next Advisory Board meeting, the Board is looking forward to a candid conversation with Dr. William McDade, who currently serves as the Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues. The Board hopes his insights can help them understand the University’s dedication to diversity, as well as the numerous ways in which the University helps alleviate some of the burdens they face.
- Karim Rupani