SGA Ambassador of Student Inclusion Brian Barlay created a team to help understand what students need from Webster University regarding diversity and inclusion.
Brian Barlay is working to better understand the needs of students on campus. Barlay and his colleagues, Leatrice McNeal and Erin Meadows, worked to create a survey for students to respond to their needs.
“We’re looking at DACA students, Hispanic students know we’re looking at the LGBTQ community, Black students, Brown students on campus, traditional students, non-traditional students, veterans students, students with disabilities, and all of that,” Barlay said. “We’re trying to figure out what will be the better way of helping them out rather than assume that they need specific programs or specific assistance.”
Barlay and Meadows are part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee for the Student Government Association (SGA). The DEI committee wants to create Webster CODE, which stands for the Coalition for Diversity and Equity. McNeal was invited to join the team by Barlay and Meadows and Hannah Jirousek, the College of Arts and Sciences senator, created the Google form for the team. The committee crafted some of the questions to go in the form with Jirousek assisting them.
“Before Webster CODE, I haven’t seen an organization on campus that directly tries to hear the voices of marginalized students and try to make significant change when it comes to the problems minorities face at Private White Institutions,” McNeal wrote in an email to The Journal. “Yes, Webster has SGA, but I feel like that is geared more towards everyone on campus. I am not saying that that is not a good thing, of course, everyone needs to be heard and included, but there are problems that minorities face that not everyone faces.”
McNeal and Barlay both want students to know that the goal of the survey — and ultimately, Webster CODE — will be to facilitate change for the entire community, not just certain people. Webster CODE will be a separate entity from SGA but also work closely with other parts of the school to ensure students get the resources they need.
“We can be the advocates through SGA and can talk to the available resources,” Barlay said. “And oftentimes there were resources that are already there on campus. It’s just a matter of them finding it and how we can let them know, ‘Hey, these are the resources you needed.'”
Barlay is encouraging students to take the survey so his team can gauge what students need from the committee and the school. McNeal feels that Webster needs Webster CODE in order to make the university better for everyone.
“We will actively participate in making sure the campus upholds anti-racism standards and is inclusive of everyone, regardless of race, gender expression, socioeconomic status, etcetera,” McNeal wrote in her email.
Students can take the survey here until Dec. 2.
Other resources available include the Diversity and Inclusion office. Its webpage can be found here. The Multicultural and International Student Affairs office is also an available resource for students and has a webpage here.