Last February, Student Senate passed a bill to develop the Bemidji State’s first ever Center for Diversity Equity and Inclusion. The bill was written by Chair Kale Hennek, Chair Peter Gable and then Senator Eshfaq (Ash) Ullah.
The Center for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (CDEI) is not only critical for minority students, but also essential to the manifestation of a healthy academic climate and the development of leaders for a globally inclusive society.
The mission of the CDEI is to allow BSU to continuously promote cultural education, social justice, pluralism, intersectionality and empowerment, as well as provide resources, programming, advocacy, support, and a safe space for students, faculty and staff at BSU. CDEI aims to serve as a hub and liaison for students, staff and faculty of BSU and for the Bemidji community on issues of equity and minority affairs through education, outreach, social awareness activities and assistance.
The vision of the CDEI is to become a collaborative space for the BSU and Bemidji community where equitable treatment of all identities & experiences is understood, appreciated and facilitated through workshops and programming activities. In addition, the CDEI envisions to become the body that leads and informs BSU and its respective offices about the implementation of policies to oversee and ensure equality of rights and social justice in the BSU community.
“This year, one of our major inclusivity related goals is to provide full support for the development of the Center for Diversity Equity and Inclusion. We will do everything we can to ensure that it becomes what we envisioned it to be. After all, this is a long-waited goal for the students at BSU which we are finally about to realize,” said Student Body President, Eshfaq (Ash) Ullah.
Since CDEI is a student-led initiative, students have been and will be closely involved with the formation, construction, promotion and functionality of the center. There are plans to host “visioning sessions” to get student feedback. The sessions will be open to all students. The center will be located in Upper Hobson Memorial Union. Construction is set to begin this winter and is expected to be completed by the Spring 2018 semester.