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Penn student government is getting mandatory diversity training

‘It should be required for all leaders in any forum’

The student government at the University of Pennsylvania is adopting mandatory diversity training for some of its members, with two of the six branches of the governing body soon to impose required attendance at the meetings.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the student government’s Nominations and Elections Committee hosted a diversity training meeting earlier this month “following internal calls for the governing bodies to be more sensitive to diversity earlier this semester.” Diversity training for the elections committee is a mandatory regular occurrence, though this meeting was open to all members of the student government.

The Daily reports that this month’s training “included topics like privilege, microaggressions, biases, and interactive games for the participants.” The facilitator of the event “talked about how to realize how some words can impact people of certain backgrounds, and encouraged those in attendance to share their own experiences with their peers.”

From the report:

Members from the other five branches of student government — the Undergraduate Assembly, Student Activities Council, Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, Social Planning and Events Committee, and the four Class Boards — were not required to attend.

College and Wharton senior Maria Curry, who chairs the UA’s Dining, Housing, and Transit Committee, said all members of the UA Cabinet, which includes the executive board and committee directors, were present at the training. She also said members from every branch of student government were in attendance.

Curry said the leaders of the six branches of student government should make attendance at the diversity training mandatory in future years.

That demand for required training was echoed by training organizer Urooba Abid, who said that “it should be required for all leaders in any forum to have some sort of interaction with a diversity style retreat or lecture.”

In addition to the mandatory training for the Nominations and Elections Committee, The Daily reports that diversity training for the Undergraduate Assembly will soon be required. UA President Natasha Menon said that “attendance at future diversity training will be mandatory and that not attending will count as a general body meeting absence.” The bylaws of the Undergraduate Assembly stipulate that representatives who are absent for 35% of a semester’s general body meetings will be removed from the assembly.

Read the report here.

MORE: Student government officials want training to help understand ‘diversity and bias’

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