Last week, the campus elected the first chair for the newly-formed Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Out of the three candidates who accepted their nominations, Teddy Hannah-Drullard ’20 was selected as the inaugural chair to help determine the Committee’s direction and goals.
Part of Hannah-Drullard’s duties will be to help amend the Student Council bylaws regarding the Committee. Much of the groundwork for these changes occurred two weeks ago, when nominees for the position—specifically Hannah-Drullard, Micah Smith ’22 and Jodi-Ann Wang ’20—discussed their concerns about the bylaw’s wording/phrasing with members of Student Council.
“Instead of being a reactive thing—which is a problem we’ve been having in the past—we wanted to make the Chair position something that would foster proactive mindsets that’ll make it easier for [People of Color] on this campus and other marginalized communities as well,” Hannah-Drullard said. “I want to make it so I can identify problem areas on campus and fix them at their root.”
One of the major talking points of Monday’s Student Council meeting, the first one in which Hannah-Drullard acted as the new Chair, discussed a hypnotist brought in by the Social Board who made an offensive joke about Asians.
“That was shocking to [Student Council] because he didn’t advertise himself as someone who would do that, but there’s also nothing in our event planning or contract system that warns people that we’re bringing to campus that they shouldn’t tell insensitive jokes,” Hannah-Drullard said.
The bylaw addendum that Hannah-Drullard has fought hardest for has been the inclusion of a non-voting, non-committee member of Student Council who would sit in on all Committee meetings and be another representative on Student Council beyond the Chair.
“A big issue for marginalized identities on this campus is feeling like we have to self-advocate all the time, and that’s a whole different second shift from our on-campus jobs and our academics and our sports,” Hannah-Drullard said. “And so, if I find myself unable to get my point across—which is another problem that marginalized identities experience—then this [representative] will be able to say ‘guys, you aren’t listening.’”
Another aspect of Hannah-Drullard’s responsibilities will be aiding the formation and leadership of the Committee. Although the idea was floated around two weeks ago that the Chair would select the Vice-Chair, Hannah-Drullard and Student Council agreed that this would be too much of a consolidation of power. Instead, Hannah-Drullard will first fill the Committee with new members, then the Committee will decide Vice-Chair and Secretary.
“The way we designed the position, the Vice-Chair should be someone who gets along with the Chair and works well with the Chair but also who occupies a lot of different groups [other than those that] the Chair occupies,” Hannah-Drullard said. “I think Jodi-Ann [Wang] would be a really awesome Vice-Chair, and we’ve talked about it … I told her that if I got the Chair position [that] I would really appreciate it if she would run for Vice[-Chair].”
For now, Hannah-Drullard’s first step will be to form a committee of students passionate about diversity and inclusion on campus.