ASUC Diversity Affairs Commission releases breakdown of diversity in ASUC

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The ASUC Diversity Affairs Commission recently released data from the fall 2018 semester that comes from a survey designed to provide transparency surrounding the diversity within the association.

The report took account of members of various offices in the ASUC and recorded their different identities and backgrounds, including race, household income and gender. The survey received 199 responses.

“We did the representation survey because when I was a commission member, I was like, ‘Who’s in the ASUC?’ ” said Diversity Affairs Commission chair Victoria Vera.

According to an email from Chief Communications Officer Ken Lohatepanont, the survey was distributed by ASUC officials, who were instructed to forward it to their offices. He added that the ASUC consists of more than 800 students.

Vera said she was pleased that the number of respondents tripled from when the survey was first deployed in the 2017-18 academic year. She added that she hopes more respondents will participate in the future in order to increase the accuracy and quality of the results.

This year’s survey shows that white people formed a plurality within the ASUC, with 24.2 percent of the sample. Chinese participants made up the second-largest group, accounting for 19.6 percent of the sample. The results also show that the majority of the ASUC — 61.8 percent of the sample — was female-identifying. The campus’s overall undergraduate enrollment is about 52.6 percent female-identifying, according to the Office of Planning and Analysis website.

The ASUC survey also included data on the number of first-generation students and international students in its offices, which constituted 12.7 percent and 9.1 percent of the ASUC, respectively.

According to Vera, the survey could not fully cover all identities and backgrounds, but it still “adds value to the student government and the work that we do” with the data that it did collect.

Vera will be serving a second term as Diversity Affairs Commission chair for the upcoming academic year. She said she plans to work with the executive vice president to implement “inclusivity and allyship training” for next year’s ASUC senators.

“All the senators represent different groups on campus, which I think is beautiful and needed,” Vera said. “But when your group is not in the spotlight, you need to show up for other communities too.”

Vera added that she thinks the senate could better connect with different communities on campus if it actively listened to presenters, public commenters and guest presenters during the weekly senate meetings instead of doing homework or communicating with others on their laptops.

A priority for the Diversity Affairs Commission next year will be to increase communication between the ASUC and “nontraditional” communities, such as re-entry students and formerly incarcerated students, according to Vera.

“If you want a diversity senate, you need more interactions,” Vera said. “Today, there’s a lack of humanity in politics.”

Contact Katherine Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.