USG to host diversity town hall

Ivana Giang and Cindy Pineda, co-chief diversity officers of the Undergraduate Student Government, are organizing a town hall Friday for students to offer their opinions regarding the efficacy of current cultural spaces on campus.

“This has been a conversation within USG for the last several years,” Giang said at Tuesday’s USG Senate meeting. “I’ve been in USG since my freshman year … which was when campus climate happened.”

Giang explained campus climate was a list of demands made by a coalition of student groups regarding creating a more inclusive campus for marginalized groups.

“We wanted to open this up to students who aren’t affiliated with USG to tell us what cultural spaces and resources they want to see here,” Giang said.

Pineda and Giang are due to report to Provost Michael Quick in December regarding cultural spaces. Giang and Pineda said the town hall is meant to allow diversity officials to more accurately represent their constituencies and their views on actions taken thus far.

The town hall will be held Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the basement of the United University Church. The town hall aims to offer an opportunity for students outside USG to give their perspectives regarding the efficacy of the currently existing cultural spaces on campus.

Karen García, the executive director of Latinx Student Assembly, has been a vocal advocate for inclusivity and increased support for diversity at USC.

“Especially with the growing diversity that USC likes to promote, there will be more need for space for these communities,” García said. “International students are a group that should have their own space, considering how large the population is at USC.”

This initiative, according to Giang, is within the jurisdiction of Student Affairs, which released a five-year plan in 2015 with goals regarding the empowerment of students. One of the goals on the Student Affairs website specifically mentions diversity, stating that it aims to “educate students to advocate for themselves and others, develop and broaden their knowledge of diversity and be agents of change.”

Giang noted these goals, and said that the meeting on Friday is intended to be in the spirit of this goal in particular.

“It’s a big conversation and it’s a big movement and progress is slow, but I think the biggest takeaway is that this report is a huge step towards having these voices heard that haven’t been listened to in the past,” Giang said.

García said she hopes for higher accountability and action regarding the cultural spaces, specifically mentioning that El Centro Chicano’s space is overcrowded.

“There are a lot of communities that are not being represented in cultural centers,” García said. “A lot of students are being overlooked and are falling through the cracks. Simply advertising diversity isn’t enough without actually catering to students who need resources and come here expecting those resources.”

The USG Senate also voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of election reforms that aim to increase the wellness and overall election experience of the candidates, and increase transparency in the election process.