The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Students ask for cultural competency requirements
By CHRISTINE COOK,
Published: April 25 2012
Since some students do not believe that Seattle Pacific students graduate with a sense of cultural competency, they are seeking to make a change.
Juniors Dominique Garcia and Karina Woodruff are heading a petition that recommends the establishment of an additional cultural competency component in the required undergraduate curriculum. The Associated Students of Seattle Pacific resolved to support this petition at its Senate meeting Monday.
SPU has a disparity between its mission statement and the competency with which students graduate, said senior Josh Norquist, president of ASSP.
The petition has three main points. First, it says that SPU boasts a mission that, in part, seeks to be “committed to engaging the culture and changing the world.” It also says that ethnic diversity at the university has doubled in the last five years to its current level: 26 percent. However, the petition says, formal, academic approaches to cultural competency are not a part of the required curriculum.
“[Cultural competency] is really important, especially when we look at [our] motto and mission statements,” Norquist said. “We want to be sure that the university requires an academic component of this.”
Intercultural Director senior Cristina Hernandez said that this is a need people have talked about for years.
“A lot of students, especially within multiethnic programs, have talked about [it],” Hernandez said. “It’s just going to be the first time it goes out to the whole school.”
Garcia said she and Woodruff hope the idea will be incorporated into the Common Curriculum – possibly in the university core course sequence.
“We’ve been meeting with faculty and staff for guidance,” Garcia said. “The three points are explicit enough to voice what we want, but [are] also open enough to actually be implemented.”
Norquist noted the importance of the petition’s openness.
“We as students don’t have the expertise to really effectively comment [on] how to implement this into the curriculum,” he said. “What we’re asking for [is a] formalized, academic solution.”
Senate agreed to support the petition and approved $200 for an event next week, which will be held May 2 in Weter Memorial Hall and will provide further information on the petition.
The petition will be available to sign electronically, and Garcia said they hope for a few hundred signatures.
In other news:
• After being tabled for a week of academic consideration, Senate passed the compensation budget, recommended by Allocation Board, for the 2012-2013 academic school year.
The top seven highest-paid positions will be decreased by 9 percent, and the other positions with stipend cuts will be decreased by 3 percent. The passed recommendation includes a $3,000 stipend for the newly created position of Relinquish coordinator.
Junior Nate Strong, vice president of finance, and sophomore Tim Seemuth, Ashton Hall senator, abstained from the vote because they have been elected to ASSP officer positions for the 2012-2013 school year.
• Senate also passed the amended Bylaws for the Student Leadership Development Committee, which will now include a chairman or chairwoman instead of being overseen by the vice president of campus activities.
• Changes in the Bylaws for next year’s ASSP president were visited and tabled for a week of academic consideration. The revised Bylaw omits the overseeing of the intercultural director, which will be undertaken by a new position next year: the vice president of intercultural affairs.
• Senate approved $1,500 for the annual KSPU Spring Concert.
This concert, put on in conjunction with Lingua and the Student Union Board, will take place May 11 from 8 to 11 p.m. in Upper Gwinn. The concert will feature local artist Noah Gunderson and three SPU bands: The Cellar Door, Cold Water Theater and Taylor Delph. Tickets will be sold for $8 each.
• Mosaic Club requested the allocation of an additional $1,500 for speaker equipment for its annual Night of Beats event. Senate already approved $855 for the event on April 2, but the speaker system provided by ASSP would not be enough to support Mosaic’s event. Senate passed the amended proposal unanimously.
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