SGA starts multicultural stole committee

By Madeline Alvarez, Sports Editor

A student-led committee is working to change Newman’s policy on graduation stoles.

Senior Student Government Association Senator and chair of the ad hoc multicultural stole committee Jose Rojas-Montero said that the group is looking to continue the process concerning diversity stoles that former student Annie Dang began at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.

“She gave birth to this idea,” Rojas-Montero said. “A lot of us are still passionate about it. We still believe in the initiative.”

Last April, the president’s cabinet discussed the idea of changing the school’s policy on stoles after receiving a recommendation about it from the commencement committee. The recommendation came after Dang had proposed to the committee a policy change to include non-academic stoles for students of multicultural backgrounds.

The proposal was not approved, members of the committee said, because it was too late to coordinate with Newman’s Dodge City and Colorado campuses. However, students were encouraged to continue the process this year.

“We were all very aware of it last year and we want to see it through this year,” Rojas-Montero said.

He said that the stoles committee is working on drafting a new proposal to bring to the commencement committee, using the proposal that Dang helped create last year as its base.

“We’re taking some of their principals and ideas because we do want to honor their work…” he said. “But we are basically drafting our own from scratch, using a lot of their research and their ideas.”

Rojas-Montero said that the official deadline for the stoles committee to turn in its proposal is before Christmas break but that the committee’s own goal is to have it ready before Thanksgiving break.

He said that there are honors cords for GPA achievements.

“The committee has really kind of encouraged us to consider is opening this initiative to different groups on campus besides only multicultural students,” Rojas-Montero said.

Rojas-Montero said that he believes the journey of multicultural students is unique.

“To have something that you can wear that speaks only of your own experience rather than everyone else’s, it’s something that we believe to be truly meaningful for us,” he said. “And for us as multicultural students, we just think that we face a different set of challenges… than a regular student… We want to celebrate the journey that brought us to that end goal.”

However, he said, there is a benefit to extending the possibility of stoles to students who do not come from multicultural backgrounds.

“Regardless of your background, there is something about that journey that stood out for you, and there’s something about that journey that you want to celebrate at the day of commencement,” Rojas-Montero said.

Committee member Martina Viale said that she believes the committee will include other groups besides multicultural students in the proposal.

Two possible groups are people with disabilities and athletes, Viale said.

“We are at that point in which… we have some research done, and… we kind of know what we want to go towards,” Viale said.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Vantage Archives