Student Council confirms second-year College student Diana Gaiter as Chair of Diversity Engagement Committee​

The Representative Body also passed a bill to amend the bylaws for the Vice President for Organizations

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Second-year College student Diana Gaiter will serve as Chair of the Diversity Engagement Committee until April, after which she will be eligible for re-appointment. Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

The Student Council Representative Body voted unanimously Tuesday to confirm the appointment of second-year College student Diana Gaiter as chair of the Diversity Engagement Committee. The committee was established in April 2018 and is tasked with cooperating with multicultural student organizations and University administration on issues relating to diversity and aims to offer resources for students from a variety of backgrounds. 

Gaiter said she hopes to focus on increased hiring efforts of African American faculty at the University, who comprise 3.78% of all University faculty members as of 2018. Gaiter also hopes to continue the committee’s recent efforts regarding the expansion of open housing opportunities for students at the University, in which students are able to reside in dorms with each other regardless of one’s gender identity. 

Currently, Housing and Residence Life has offered an open housing option for upperclass students since the 2015-2016 academic year in which individuals can request a roommate independent of one’s gender identity. However, the option is currently only offered at certain upperclassmen apartment complexes and graduate student housing units — including Bice, Copeley, Faulkner and Lambeth. The Brandon Avenue residences, slated to open for upperclassmen residents in August 2019, will also have open housing options. 

Gaiter is replacing third-year College student Sarah Pape, who stepped down from the position earlier this semester. Gaiter’s appointment will last until the end of the current Student Council administration's term which is April 2. However, Alex Cintron, a fourth-year College student and Student Council president who appointed Gaiter, said he was optimistic that the incoming administration — which will be elected during University-wide elections in the coming weeks — would extend Gaiter’s appointment for a full term.  

The Representative Body also voted to pass a bill amending the bylaws regarding the Vice President for Organizations. The bill was co-sponsored by Ty Zirkle, a fourth-year College student and vice president for organizations who said this bylaw bill is the first in a series of bylaw updates from the Constitution and Bylaw Review Committee. 

Cintron established the committee to improve and build upon existing Student Council bylaws, as well as to allow for the internal bylaws document to remain effective and up to date. 

“In general, the bill just brings the description in line with the VPO position, how it’s really evolved over the last few years,” Zirkle said. 

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, Zirkle went through the major changes that the bylaw bill enacts. According to Zirkle, many of the changes are superficial, such as changing all instances of the abbreviation “CIO” to read “Contracted Independent Organization” for consistency. 

The bill also expands the responsibilities of the Vice President for Organizations to include “support for CIOs.” 

“This support for CIOs expands us to developing resources and connecting CIO leaders with the resources and support at the University, which I thought was an important addition,” Zirkle said. 

Zirkle added that the bill also brings the Board of Audit and Management more squarely under the administration of the Vice President for Organizations. The Board of Audit and Management is an independent body that ensures that the Student Activities Fund is spent in accordance with Student Council and University policies. SAF funds are drawn from the Student Activities Fee, a semesterly fee that students pay to support Student Council’s funding of COIs. 

“One other significant thing is that it restructures where the Board of Audit and Management falls in student council,” Zirkle said. “So it’s always been under the VPO [vice president of organizations] and the VPA [vice president of administration], but it situates it more solidly under the VPO as another committee where greater institutional memory in transition.”

The bill passed unanimously and without debate. 

Student Council also voted unanimously to pass a bill approving the creation of a new CIO, Darden Dance Revolution. The bill was sponsored by Zirkle. 

During the legislative session, First Year Council President Denzel Mitchell asked, “Do they just play Dance Dance Revolution?”

According to the language of the bill, Darden Dance Revolution “aims to further the physical well-being of our classmates, and dance is a fun, non-traditional way to achieve this.”

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