Following the initial meeting of the newly-formed Diversity Awareness Task Force, the group is taking steps to move forward. The task force, made up of five committees, expressed its interest in incorporating diversity awareness into education and the curriculum.
However, some students have planned a different approach.
Students on campus have formed a new group, PSU For All Student Equality (PSU-FASE). It is not affiliated with the Diversity Awareness Task Force, Julie Mastrine , a member of PSU-FASE and a former Collegian staff member, said.
The group was formed the weekend after the initial Diversity Awareness Task Force meeting. The students assembled had a different approach and views toward direct action, Alyssia Motah (senior-food science).
“It would work in our best interest to take action,” Motah said.
On the other hand, the task force is focusing its attention on writing and fine-tuning a proposal for the Faculty Senate. The task force is basing its approach on working with the administration, Ryan Brown (senior-integrative arts), chair of the education subcommittee, said.
Brown declined comment on the task force’s position toward PSU-FASE’s plans, saying that the task force had not yet discussed the matter.
The Diversity Awareness Task Force was formed after students reacted to an incident involving the Chi Omega sorority and a photo the Panhellenic Council deemed “offensive.”
The photo depicts members of the Chi Omega sorority wearing ponchos and sombreros. Two members are pictured holding signs that read “Will mow lawn for weed + beer” and “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.”
The task force has since created five subcommittees: policy, education, collaboration, dialogue and direct action.
Before last week’s meeting concluded, the task force made plans for moving forward. The group decided to draft a proposal to be presented at the next Faculty Senate meeting.
PSU-FASE has organized a peaceful, silent walk to take place today at noon. The walk seeks to promote a “socially just, educationally relevant campus climate,” Mastrine (senior-public relations) said.
Following the walk, students will gather at Old Main to emphasize their desire for equality and diversity, Motah said.
Mastrine emphasized that the walk is a peaceful way to promote social equality at Penn State and in the State College community as a whole.
“Community is worldwide,” Mastrine said.
Motah said that while the group’s primary focus is delivering a message through peaceful events, the group also plans to work with the administration.
Direct action can be “supplemented with meetings and drafting proposals,” Motah said.
PSU-FASE invited President Rodney Erickson and other members of the administration to the silent walk. The group also sent a letter to the administration that included a list of changes they would like to see in the university, Motah said.
“We felt that coming together as a community and showing strength in numbers and show how many of us are committed to equality, that will get the conversation started,” Mastrine said.
Courtney Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration), University Park Undergraduate Association president, could not be reached for comment as of press time Wednesday.