In its second meeting of the academic year, the Associated Students of Madison’s Equity & Inclusion Committee brainstormed goals for the semester, mainly focusing on improving the inclusivity of trainings on campus.
The majority of the goals discussed during the meeting Tuesday night zeroed in on the different trainings students and other members of the campus community have to complete for activities like university jobs, Greek life and registered student organizations.
ASM Outreach Director Aerin Leigh Lammers, said the training for house fellows at UW-Madison could be improved by encouraging constructive conversations about implicit biases.
The EIC also wants to look into the required bias training for Greek life participants and Badgers Step Up!, the required training for RSOs — which ASM Press Office Director Matthew Mittnick, said prioritized alcohol policy, not inclusivity.
Another program the EIC is interested in improving is the joint U Got This! training and GetWIse workshop — introduced to prevent sexual assault and dating violence — which incoming freshmen and transfer students have to complete.
Although the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center has hosted its own versions of the GetWIse workshop, the EIC discussed how conversations in these programs aren’t always LGBTQ+ inclusive.
The EIC would also like to standardize policies of gender inclusivity at campus jobs. At certain customer service jobs, one EIC member reported being encouraged to address customers as “sir” and “ma’am,” requiring employees to make snap judgments about patrons’ gender identities without an option for gender non-conforming people.
EIC Chair Adrian Lampron said they are excited to begin work on UW-Madison’s bias training programs.
“There's a lot of different areas — including student employment, housing, Greek life, student organizations — where there's training happening already, and we'd just like to see ways that that can be expanded or improved upon,” Lampron said.
They also mentioned that these bias training projects could potentially gain momentum with a new Campus Climate Survey coming out in a few months. The results of the previous Campus Climate Survey released in 2017 showed divisions in which groups of students felt accepted on campus.
The EIC plans to meet with the people responsible for creating and maintaining each of the training programs, such as Greek life councils and University Health Services.
Beginning talks to get these in motion should happen within a few weeks, but it’s hard to know how long it’ll be before measurable change is made, Lampron said. However, they believe improving RSO and Greek life training can be accomplished by this semester or the next.
“Some of these ideas and concepts are things that take years to come to fruition, and some of them are things we get done this semester,” Lampron said. “We never really know because it's kind of dependent on other folks, but it's always really exciting to see what incremental change we can do and then what really great things we can make happen in relatively short amounts of time.”
Update 9/25/19 4:36 p.m.: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect that these goals were brainstormed, not permanently set.