Eyiuel Mekonnen explains SGA diversity report

Eyouel Mekonnen, a junior English major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, explains the Student Government Association’s Internal Evaluation Outline. It provides rankings for how SGA fairs in terms of ethnic/racial diversity, gender diversity and academic diversity on a scale of one to ten. The evaluation does this by including the number of ethnicities and racial groups represented, the number of genders represented and the number of majors represented.

 

The Student Government Association (SGA) at Eastern Kentucky University was surveyed in mid-September by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to gauge the diversity and inclusivity of the SGA as a whole and within the individual divisions of SGA.

 It is the responsibility of SGA’s director of diversity to compile and submit an annual report on the diversity and inclusivity of SGA. 

The report was written by Director of Diversity Eyouel Mekonnen, and was reviewed by  three other members of SGA — Ethan Witt, the director of government  and community relations, Madison Lipscomb, EKU’s student body president and Grant Minix, SGA’s executive vice president. 

The 44-page report was presented by Mekonnen to the student senate, the legislative branch of SGA, in place of their normal meeting at 6 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 5, in Whitlock 549. 

To gather the information compiled in this report, a survey was distributed to all members of SGA, and the total response rate was 74.4 percent. 

The report includes demographic information about the SGA members, such as length of their experience in SGA, academic year, major of study, gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, disability, RSO membership and 1st generation student status.

According to this report, overall, SGA is comprised of: 

  • 65.2 percent female members, 
  • 33.3 percent male members,
  • 1.5 percent genderqueer or non-binary members,
  • 1.5 percent (1 female member) has served in Active Duty in the U.S Armed Forces
  • Members from 25 different majors
  • Members from 56 RSO’s, with top three:
  • Greek life – 21.5 percent
  • Honors – 8.4 percent
  • Green Crew – 5.6 percent
  • 92.4 percent members without a disability,
  • 6.1 percent with disability, 
  • and 1.5 percent who responded “maybe.”

According to the minority/non-minority and gender statistics in the 2019-20 Diversity and Inclusion Report, SGA has a higher percentage of minority students and female students than EKU’s community as a whole. 

SGA has a larger percentage of minority students than the EKU student body.

SGA also has a higher percentage of female students compared to the EKU student body. 

The report also included questions pertaining to the inclusivity of SGA. These questions included “Do you feel like you/your opinion is valued at SGA?”, “Do you feel like SGA’s programs/meetings are inclusive?” and “Do you feel comfortable to approach another SGA member with a question?”

In response to the first question, the majority of respondents did agree and/or strongly agree that they felt their opinion is valued at SGA. However, some students disagreed and/or strongly disagreed while others remained neutral.

Mekonnen, after reporting the disagreements, says that even one person disagreeing to these questions is too much, and is a priority for SGA to solve. 

“There is not an end to how diverse we can be, there is not an end to how inclusive we can be, it’s an ever-evolving process,” Mekonnen said while commenting on the future of SGA’s diversity and inclusion. 

Lipscomb said that to improve the solidarity of SGA and achieve higher diversity and inclusion, SGA should more fully prepare senators and other members for their terms, get more connected with the students they represent and increasing the diversity and inclusivity of SGA recruitment.

Minix said, “Our number one priority is to represent who we are and to be representative of the EKU Community as a whole.”

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