By Alyssa N. Veltre
“From the library to the cafeteria to the streets. Hear our demands, Seton Hall. If we don’t get it, shut it down,” the Seton Hall University Concerned 44 tweeted on October 24, 2018. Since the protests in the Fall 2018 semester, many things have changed for the better on campus.
The student activist group stood with the Black Caucus against what they describe as the “deeply dissatisfying” way students of color have been treated and represented by Seton Hall’s administration. Among their five demands as tuition-paying students, was a grant for events and organizations involving inclusion.
The grant, totaling $20,000, has been entrusted to the Student Government Association for use on diversity-centered initiatives. In an interview, SGA Treasurer, Divine Tanamal, told The Diplomatic Envoy that she formed a pilot committee for the Spring 2019 semester called the Diversity and Inclusion Grant Committee.
The committee is comprised of Tanamal, the Multicultural Advisory Committee Finance Coordinator, the SGA Finance Chair, a chosen representative of the Concerned 44, members of on campus organizations, and anyone who would like to join and learn about how they are represented on campus. The university approved the idea, giving $10,000 in addition to the $6,000 that SGA allotted for the semester.
“Since this has never been done before, this pilot program will certainly be a learning curve,” Tanamal wrote. “I think that the $20,000 that the university will be providing yearly is more than sufficient to help student organizations out with planning on-campus diversity initiatives,” she continued. Tanamal added that it was important to note that there have been resources providing these groups with funding already, but that they have gone consistently underutilized by many organizations.
The way the committee will run is similar to the way the SGA Finance Committee runs. Organizations recognized by the association seeking funding can request up to $3,500 for any event pertaining to diversity awareness. If these funds are insufficient, they are eligible for up to $3,000 more at the Finance Committee’s discretion.
Tanamal expressed her hope that the grant will bring attention to the student government and help boost student spending for the Finance Committee and the co-sponsorship budget. Finally, she added, “Overall, I am excited to see what progress we can make with the Diversity and Inclusion Grant Committee.”
Undoubtedly, many are rightfully excited by the new opportunities that will be made available through this grant, which is a step toward better representing one of the most diverse Catholic schools in the country.