SGA welcomes DICE to its weekly meeting

Amanda Garny / THE GATEPOST

By Sara Seanesac

Editorial Staff

SGA welcomed the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) team to its meeting Sept. 24. 

President Matty Bennet invited Constanza Cabello, vice president of DICE, and Patricia Birch, director of inclusive excellence initiatives, to speak to SGA about what they want to accomplish this year. 

Cabello wanted to address the bigger plans for the future, discussing her “internal and external focus” for DICE. 

The purpose of the internal focus is to “create not only a diverse campus environment, but also an inclusive one,” she said.

“Diversity is really about numbers. Diversity is about representation. Inclusion is about climate. Do people feel they belong here? Do they feel they can be successful here? That’s really what we are moving toward,” Cabello added.

The external focus is aimed toward community engagement and the need to reach further than just the FSU campus. 

“As a public institution in the MetroWest community, we have a responsibility to be good neighbors,” Cabello said. 

She also noted their team is “small, but mighty.” Roxana Marrero, executive administrative assistant of DICE, is leaving the team Friday to start her new position as director of the MetroWest Early Scholar program. 

Cabello also discussed the different groups DICE works with on campus, such as the Bias Education Response Team (BERT) and the Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). She said having all of these groups working together is what creates that sense of community. 

Patricia Birch then told the group what she does as head of the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE), including programming around diversity and inclusion, working with affinity groups and clubs, and working with faculty to further enhance student experience. 

She emphasized the importance of communication with students and keeping the CIE a student-centered program. 

Bennet then opened the meeting up for questions.

Student Trustee Olivia Beverlie asked Cabello how she would address a racist incident, such as the hate crimes that occurred in recent years.    

Cabello said, “Whenever there’s a hate crime on campus, it’s so important to acknowledge the intent and the impact on people. At the center of these incidents are often individuals. 

“Sometimes we focus so much on wanting to get the information, and what we need to do is focus on the people who are being impacted negatively.” 

Bennet asked if there had been any updates on the investigations over the summer. 

Cabello said she did not have much new information to share, but she believes conversations about the incidents between students and administration have improved. She stressed the importance of keeping communication open, and making sure students know they are always being heard. 

SGA then went over their officer reports, where Beverlie informed the group of an “exciting” update. 

“We’ve been having issues in public relations with Campus Police. … President Cevallos informed me during my meeting with him that we’re adding a community service officer in a few weeks.

“They’re going to be the person for student concerns, and they will be working on improving the community service aspect of Campus Police,” Beverlie said. 

Bennet announced SGA will be meeting with Lorretta Holloway, vice president for enrollment and student development, and Meg Nowak Borrego, dean of students, Oct. 8 to discuss the lack of student engagement in clubs. 

Secretary Lexi Kays reminded everyone that Election Day was Sept. 26.

The results will be released Oct. 8