On July 2nd our University’s new Student Government, following the trends of various other institutions, persuaded by social media posts, the extensive amount of student commentary, and the IE Black Summit, drafted and sent an open letter to IE’s Administration regarding the cultural and racial discriminatory patters and incidents within all branches of our strongly diverse community.
Clearly stating not to be experts in the matter, they emphasized that their efforts would be directed to support the diversity that IE so proudly praises itself for.
“We pride ourselves by the fact that we represent such a diverse community. However, this is a matter of not only carrying this diversity with pride but also embracing the responsibility it entails.” – Open Letter, SG
Taking into account the responses collected within the student-based survey they claim that the issue does not only persist within students themselves but inside the university’s administrative body and faculty members.
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Therefore they list the following four proposals;
i. Provide clearer guidelines in the IE Ethics Code; the existing policy on harassment and discrimination (Article 3.2 of the IE Ethics Code) is vague, disregards micro-aggressions and does not provide a clear contact to file complaints. Nor does it provide clear guidelines on what is allowed and what is not. Additionally, this regulation should also provide serious consequences for those who breach it.
ii. Have the ethics committee be more involved in sanctioning such acts, as they do so often when it comes to plagiarism or cheating. After all, ethics involves any and all morals. Moreover, we advise a diverse composition of the ethics committee, in which there’s representation of POC that are part of the faculty and administration.
iii. Although in the past few weeks IE has become more active on this subject matter and has since conducted and provided some seminars, we strongly believe that this should be a long term commitment. Despite the large diversity on campus, there’s a lack of education on cultural sensitivity. Thus, we insist that throughout the whole school year there be more available seminars, workshops, modules, and electives that focus on tackling issues of racism as well as providing an open space for conversation.
iv. Lastly, that there be accessible and transparent resources and facilities for students in order to voice their concerns and be actively heard on the matter.
After this letter was made public students like Gabrielle Isa went on to say that “honestly I am glad it’s in writing so that no one can say we didn’t try – I am really hoping that finally things will change and the black students that come after me get the chance to have a better experience than I did.”
However, even though the Student Government’s intentions behind these proposals were pure, the student body has yet to be satisfied. Seeing that the situation continues to escalate not only within the United States but now all over the world, IE students, especially those that are part of targeted communities and/or are advocates for the different movements, expect more from the university’s administration.
As also stated by Gabrielle, “I hope, in terms of dealing with micro-aggressions that the policies protect students and teachers alike. Sometimes we forget that professors can be the perpetrators and since they determine our learning experience and they should be also held accountable.”
In addition, Gabrielle ended the interview by stating that this is not only a social issue it is ingrained in IE’s curriculum, an opinion shared by many.
“Discrimination is definitely present in the curriculum. It’s more about adding classes, it’s making sure the classes we have are evaluated. Are we genuinely educating students about the world from a non-Western lens? Actively deconstructing biases and having healthy discussions? Or are we just casually mentioning tokenized issues so we can claim we include diversity in the curriculum ? There’s a big difference between those and I hope, that IE with the SG and other groups work together, so that his difference is recognized.”
Nonetheless, IE’s student body does recognize the previous efforts made by our newly elected Student Government but just like many all over the wold will continue to ask for changes to be implemented. In order to safely return to a tolerant, diverse, entrepreneurial institution.
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