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Student government officials want internal training to help them understand ‘diversity and bias’


President says no specific incident inspired the demands

Representatives of the student government at the University of Pennsylvania are pushing for mandatory diversity training for themselves and their colleagues, though the head of that organization wouldn’t point to a specific incident on campus that motivated the demand.

The private university’s Undergraduate Assembly is made up of six branches, with members from each branch pushing for diversity training. Speaking to The Daily Pennsylvanian, numerous representatives articulated their opinion that the Undergraduate Assembly is hypocritical for its own lack of diversity initiatives. One representative claimed that the body “often urges peer organizations and Penn’s administration to be conscious of their diversity, but…does not reflect upon its own diversity enough.”

Undergraduate Assembly President Natasha Menon told The Daily that she plans to talk to other student government officials about the proposed program. When reached by The College Fix for comment, Menon could not offer any information about the potential programs, nor could she point to any specific incident that compelled the representatives to ask for them.

“[W]e are currently workshopping what such a diversity training might look like. As we are still in the very early stages of figuring out what it might look like, I am not comfortable giving a statement for an article,” Menon said.

“The call for diversity training is not based on a singular incident but is rather a recognition that members’ understanding of diversity and bias within the Undergraduate Assembly and any student organization can always be improved,” she added.

No source named by The Daily mentioned any other incident or specific reason that may have inspired the demand for diversity training.

Demands for diversity documentation

Maria Curry, a senior and student government official, told The Daily that she is calling on the Penn Student Government to release “diversity reports,” a system in which all branches of student government would participate, allowing them to gather information in order to “analyze” diversity within their ranks.

Curry also called for diversity training for “all members of the six branches,” claiming that “internal elections” can bring out “unconscious biases” and “microaggressions” in students.

Curry said that student government officials have “been receptive to and supportive of her ideas.”

CORRECTION: The original article incorrectly identified the university and its status. It is the University of Pennsylvania, which is private.

MORE: Does ‘diversity training’ work? Nobody can say

MORE: Study finds mandatory diversity training backfires

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Chase Watkins -- Utah Valley University

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