Faculty Senate lacks diversity


Chris Anderson/Iowa State Daily

A member of faculty senate voices his concern over proposed changes to Blackboard Feb. 14, 2017.

Robert Roberson

Although the Faculty Senate has recently been a champion of diversity and inclusion on the Iowa State campus, diversity within the senate leaves something to be desired.

Faculty Senate President Jonathan Sturm and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Mark Looney had a lot to say about diversity in Faculty Senate.

While their views don’t necessarily reflect the rest of the senate, Sturm and Looney do not believe the senate has a diverse enough membership and put an emphasis on the executive board. Though that may be true, the senate passed a resolution unanimously last semester against racism, sexism, bigotry, harassment and oppression, and for diversity and inclusion.

“Our executive board needs greater diversity from all interpretations of the word,” Sturm said.

Looney reinforced that notion, mentioning that it’s much less diverse than it should be, and expressed sadness in that concept.

“We need diverse thinkers and actions to inform our decisions,” Looney said.

Looney also mentioned that those from different backgrounds shouldn’t be overlooked, and addressed the issue of populating faculty with diverse members.

Sturm shared a similar sentiment, saying that when Iowa State does get diverse minds, it doesn’t want to require them to focus on issues that may encroach on their studies.

Looney said new diversity courses, which would need approval from the senate, could be helpful. He also noted the importance of ensuring classes that are currently considered diversity classes are held to some standard.

Along with the resolution passed last November, Sturm also went out to an Agora speech zone and promoted a “climate of welcome.”

These are complex issues for the senate. 

“I do believe we care about these things,” Looney said.