The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

New student organization aims to take action against discrimination on campus

February 22, 2021

Provided by SEDI

After protests sparked across the country last summer calling for racial justice, five students within NKU’s English department agreed that there needed to be a statement not only on behalf of the English department, but also on behalf of the many diverse student voices on NKU’s campus. This led to the start of Students for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusiveness (SEDI).

It all started when Kendra Darby, senior English creative writing major, received an email from Dr. John Alberti, English Chair, last summer stating the need for an organization for people of color on campus. She then contacted the now President of SEDI, Sarah Williams-Bryant, junior English creative writing major, to form this new committee. According to Darby, they both agreed that they couldn’t just sit around and watch—they needed to take action. 

“We thought about what we can do to help, instead of just standing here and doing nothing, how can we be an ally and help?” Darby said. 

Darby emphasized the importance of holding students accountable for making racist comments and racial discrimination. When thinking of ways to accomplish this, she thought of the sexual harassment training NKU Title IX required students to do last fall, hoping that could be a potential way to educate students on racism.

“You took this course, you understand that sexual assault is wrong, you know what consent is, so how can we create something like that in order to keep students held accountable for racism?” Darby added. 

To combat this, SEDI created a Canvas page as a teaching tool to talk about how to address these issues on campus. The page addresses questions on what racism is, ways people can go about discussing it and how to take action against it. Williams-Bryant is hopeful that making this page will help keep the conversation going and help students continue to learn about the effects of racism.

“As someone who is white, and as someone who is a woman, it is important for me to understand that my hardships are going to be different than a Black woman,” Williams-Bryant said.

Another member of the group, Hypha Fries, senior English creative writing major, was among one of the original members in SEDI. Before she graduates this December, she hopes that people of color on campus can have an outlet to report racism and have their concerns heard. According to Fries, she believes having an organization like this on campus that is student-led could make more students want to get involved with SEDI. 

“Something made by the students is much more approachable, and we hope that, in a way, it will make the organization more likable for students,” Fries said. 

SEDI is now holding bi-weekly meetings on Tuesdays, virtually via Zoom at 7 p.m. The organization is housed in the English department, however, all majors are welcomed and encouraged to join.

For more information about how to get involved with the organization, you can find SEDI on Instagram: @nku_sedi or on Twitter: @NkuSedi. To receive the Zoom link, email President Sarah Williams-Bryant at williamss38@mymail.nku.edu.

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