The Associated Students of Madison created a new position Wednesday to increase the organization’s engagement with various groups on campus.
The additional position — titled “diverse engagement coordinator” — will help connect ASM with the Multicultural Student Center, the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center and the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
“It is basically a way to actually focus our efforts better on outreach to students of color and LGBTQ students, students with disabilities and non-traditional students — a variety of groups on campus that ASM has historically not represented very well,” Equity and Inclusion Chair Adrian Lampron said. “Since it is our charge to represent all students, this is a step we're taking to do that better.”
The diversity engagement coordinator, which won’t go into effect until next year, will work closely with the next session of ASM’s equity and inclusion chair. However, the new position will have more of an outreach focus with direct connections to students instead of administration.
The role is a consolidation of the previous ASM positions of inclusion ambassadors, assistant press office director and assistant outreach director, allowing for someone who can be “more committed to the role, a larger role, and [have] more accountability for their job,” Lampron said.
Rep. Yogev Ben-Yitschak voiced his support for the new position, even though he played a role in making the original positions now being absorbed into the new one.
“Although I helped create the inclusion ambassadors and the outreach assistants and I feel like my own children were cut out of the budget, I do support this,” Ben-Yitschak said. “And props to Chair Lampron and Director [Aerin Leigh] Lammers for doing this.”
This addition comes after the Student Inclusion Coalition — an advocacy group for marginalized students at UW-Madison — led a protest Friday demanding equity and funding from the university. ASM released a statement of support for SIC the same day.
“The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) recognizes the lack of equity on our campus and supports SIC in its mission to hold the administration accountable to meeting the needs of all students,” the statement said. “We encourage the rest of the UW-Madison community to follow the lead of SIC.”
The statement went on to say ASM wants to “make sure our next steps are as collaborative and inclusive as possible” and encouraged direct contact from community members.
The new position was already in the works at the time of the SIC protest, according to Lampron.
Discussion of adding the role began during talks of ASM’s internal budget, Lampron said. The organization was already planning to stop paying the inclusion ambassadors, assistant press office director and assistant outreach director next year, and Lampron worried that could impact ASM’s outreach work, especially among marginalized populations on campus.
“Given the campus climate and a variety of other issues, this should be a priority for our organization,” Lampron said. “Other student leaders agreed, so we decided to bring [the position] into the budget.”
The position is still open to input and adjustment from other student council members, Outreach Director Aerin Leigh Lammers said. The name itself is also subject to change.
The diverse engagement coordinator will be elected by the student council and serve a one-year term, beginning in April 2020.