When we learned of Temple Student Government’s latest venture in encouraging a healthy and much needed dialogue on diversity – a four-part Diversity Dialogue Series – we were elated that the body’s plans were being set into motion.
But that feeling of elation disappeared
when we also learned that student organizations that participated in two parts of the series could earn up to 50 Diamond Dollars.
So let’s get this straight: For participating in an event that centers on what proves to be Temple’s No. 1 selling point, student groups get to earn money?
Discussing the d-word and its importance
to this “Diversity University” is far from new. We’ve heard it before. Temple is diverse.
Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw reiterated this last Friday when he announced that Temple would host a NCAA Diversity Workshop.
“Diversity is an area that Temple University takes pride in, not just in athletics, but in all areas of the university,” Bradshaw said.
OK. For the umpteenth time, we get it. But what message is the university sending when it provides a monetary incentive for its students to participate in a discussion about diversity?
A message that resonates clearly: We know that you all won’t move an inch to celebrate and embrace diversity, unless there is something in it for you.Not a very positive one, is it?
But let’s be fair. This is the biggest push toward having a dialogue on diversity
that the university has made in years. And Temple Student Government stands firmly behind this landmark move.
From that view, we too understand that as students, we all can be too busy or too lazy to rally behind causes that benefit us. We also realize how difficult it is to motivate our peers. Therefore, we see the motivation in offering an incentive to student groups that participate, but we wish TSG and the Office of Multicultural Affairs could have devised a better way to attract students.
Here’s one way: making it mandatory
for student organization representatives
to attend. After all, it’s part of the role of student representatives in fulfilling TSG’s mission of being “an advocate for the student in all their affairs and conduct.”
No student should have to be bribed to attend a series that would be only beneficial to them, their student organization and this university as a whole. Achieving and understanding “diversity” is not a four-day task. Heck, it’s not even a task we can complete in a semester. Providing an incentive to such a phenomenal cause does nothing else but cheapen the core message and meaning of “diversity.”