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New SG position focuses on universitywide diversity efforts

The federal diversity and inclusion coordinator will oversee universitywide inclusion efforts, and build better connections with minority groups on all campuses. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Student Body President Julia Cunningham made the executive order to remove the chief marketing officer position in favor of a federal diversity and inclusion coordinator. 

The new position is intended to emulate the efforts of the Tampa campus’ local diversity and inclusion coordinator’s job description, according to Cunningham. However, the federal coordinator can be expected to advance diversity and inclusion, such as enhance minority outreach initiatives, at a federal level for all three campuses.  

The removal of the chief marketing officer position comes from an effort to maximize the administration’s efficiency by eliminating overlap in responsibilities between the seven cabinet members, according to Cunningham. 

“If you already have a graphic design specialist and a multimedia design specialist, the need for a chief marketing officer becomes a little redundant,” she said.

Between all three of the positions incorporating media production for Student Government (SG) and the implementation of marketing officers at the local level, the position at the federal level loses its delegated value.

Chief Marketing Officer Amanda Baxter said she agrees with the changes since the local levels have roles that satisfy the expectations of the terminated position.

“I act as a middleman [between the local and federal level] and do not actually have control over the local marketing team, so it is a challenge to fulfill what that title [chief marketing officer] suggests,” she said.

“I personally feel like our current structure does not support having a chief marketing officer due to the three local teams.”

Cunningham’s envision the new position to be filled by a student who is prepared with ideas and ready to collaborate with diverse student organizations such as the Central American Student Alliance. 

“This position is to have a person in the federal cabinet develop advocacy initiatives that support all marginalized identities on campus,” she said. 

“Since no one person can embody the lived experience of every identity, this individual will have to work closely with other students, faculty and departments on all three campuses to provide impactful programs and events for the student body.”

Cunningham said once the 2022-23 budget is finalized, the diversity and inclusion coordinator will have set funding to construct initiatives. 

The liberty the position will have to implement initiatives is up to the next SG president, according to Cunningham. 

“Each administration’s president has a different idea of how they want it run,” she said. “[The cabinet members] do not have to run every little thing that they do by me, but you might have a [more controlling] president one year.”  

Selection for the first federal diversity and inclusion coordinator will begin as soon as the president-elect is declared following the upcoming general election. The new president will host interviews for the position and choose who to appoint.

The anticipated cabinet member will then appear before the Senate Ethics Committee, who will determine if the student breaches any ethical criteria, such as having a conflict of interest. Assuming the candidate gets the committee’s stamp of approval, the SG Senate must reach a simple majority in favor of confirmation for the appointment to be official.

Although Cunningham will not be leading the new position she has curated, she invites students with ideas on how to make an impact to seek out the office.

“I [would] want somebody who has an open mind and is coming in already with ideas with how they see that they can improve student life on campus,” she said. 

“I don’t want someone to come in thinking that they’ll figure it out as they go, I think that would be more harmful to the student body.”