Eliza Kern, Daily Tarheel (University of North Carolina), April 20, 2009
Student Body President Jasmin Jones is approaching diversity with enthusiasm and vigor, and campus cultural leaders are hopeful that she will promote inclusivity and tolerance within the community.
For Jones, the issue of diversity goes far beyond race and is about devising ways of increasing communication and understanding between cultural groups.
“People think diversity is about skin color, but it goes so much further than that,” she said.
“It’s about breaking barriers that are often not broken; it’s a lack of communication that still exists,” Jones said. “There are still limitations that we hold within ourselves.”
Plans include the creation of a diversity education task force, holding a diversity celebration day, and expanding the existing “Mix It Up Day,” which encourages students move beyond their usual social groups in the dining hall.
“We hope to create an environment where people can talk about all issues of diversity freely and learn from each other,” said Jones’ Chief of Staff Monica Matta. “We’re really trying to widen the scope of what is considered diversity.”
Leaders of cultural groups on campus have expressed hope that Jones will expand on existing relationships and initiatives.
“When we have the election forum, diversity is really stressed, but after we endorse a candidate they don’t necessarily come back,” said 2008-09 Black Student Movement president Shaniqua McClendon.
“I know diversity is on their platforms, and if they took more time to stress it, it could help.”
2008-09 Carolina Hispanic Association President Ronald Batres said he hopes Jones will be equally effective in promoting dialogue.