by Namu Sampath
Photo courtesy of Amanda Willis
The Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at College of Communication encouraged undergraduate students to share their personal experiences in COM at their first meeting last Tuesday.
Many of the students who attended the meeting showed their support for a committee dedicated to the student experience in the College of Communication.
The Committee, which started in 2015 as an effort to connect people of color in the graduate school with those in the alumni network, was a hit amongst faculty and staff.
Ermolande Jean-Simon, DEI Committee Member, first got introduced to the Committee when she was in graduate school in COM. As a person of color, she felt isolated and felt like she had no one to talk to share common ground with, and was connected to Dean Fiedler through one of her PR professors.
Jean-Simon said, “[Dean Fiedler] was working on a project about diversity and had a small group of alums of color who were giving him some insight on how to make things a little bit better in COM.”
Tuesday’s meeting was a small gathering of students; however, it proved to be a safe place for all students to talk about their experiences with the lack of diversity in their classrooms, and what they hope to see in the future.
On COM’s website, this committee aims to make the College of Communication a better place for all of the people in its community and ensures to create a space where everyone feels valued and respected.
“As a student and as an alum, I felt obligated to say that students deserve to have a voice regarding their own experiences [in the classroom] ...” Jean-Simon said, “... because faculty and staff can’t sit down and see it from your lens.”
During the meeting, the students talked about making the committee one that all COM students can learn about and participate in.
Hillary Rogers (COM ‘21) said that she has not been offered any resources as a student of color studying Advertising, and that she has had to hunt down many opportunities on her own.
“COM is currently missing a space for diverse students and faculty to connect with one another. I think if the DEI can be a space that promotes such connection and provides extra resources for people of color within our college, then it is definitely needed,” said Rogers.
Other students, like Sabrina Schnurr (COM ‘21), think that BU should be encouraging more men to explore communications related fields.
The Committee is the next step for the College of Communication to embrace the diverse voices that make up the college and is going to be a valuable source for both undergraduate and graduate students hoping to work in the media industry.
“As students at COM, you are here and you are committed, and you’re spending money to get a degree, so why can’t you speak your voice and say how you’re feeling, and more importantly, be a part of the change?,” said Jean-Simon.
DEI will be sending out more information as to when the next meeting will be.