Leadership, Advocacy, and Action: Creating Institutional Change at Chapman University

 In A Circle in a Square Podcast, People Stories, Top Posts

“Chapman is a place that has a lot of opportunities for a lot of different people but at the end of the day, my college experience will not be the same as my white peers. From the social aspect to even the educational, we can see the difference because of our skin color,” shared Ramya Sinha.

Ramya is a junior at Chapman University, majoring in Business Administration and double minoring in Sociology and Africana Studies. She is a member of ChapTones a cappella and the sorority Gamma Phi, and is the two-term president of the Black Student Union (BSU), the longest-standing club at Chapman University. 

Ramya joined us this week on the podcast to share her experience as one of the busiest bees at Chapman, and to share the action plan that she and her executive board have created in efforts to create institutional change at Chapman. The action plan outlines 12 measurable demands for the Chapman University administration to implement throughout their institution, which will help create equal and necessary opportunities for past, current, and future Black Chapman students.

This action plan was long needed at Chapman, and when you read the facts, you will clearly understand why. 

    • 2% of Chapman’s student population is Black.
    • The retention rate for Black students is 88.5%, scoring the lowest within the university. 
    • Chapman’s Black faculty only accounted for ~3.75% during the 2019-2020 sch0ol year.

On the podcast this week, Ramya and our first-time host Marshall got to dive into just a few of the action items in the plan, and hear more about how they will serve the Black community at Chapman. In point #2, Ramya shared how there is currently not one Black therapist in the Psychological Services Center on campus, and the plan calls for Black therapists to be hired and available on campus to help with mental health for Black students. Ramya shared how truly important this really is. 

“I think mental health and self-care is really important. For Black people and POC, the things that take a toll on our mental health have to do with race,” said Ramya. 

She also shared her research into TimelyMD, an online mental health service program. The site would allow students to have access to a diverse amount of therapists so that marginalized and intersectional students can have easy access to therapists of color.

The plan also stresses the importance for diversity / implicit bias training to be implemented university-wide, which could be the foundation for promoting a safer and healthier campus environment. Ramya stresses how Chapman should offer a diversity course as a part of the general education requirements at Chapman University. Chapman currently requires seven mandatory GEs, and the action plan stresses how all students would be able to fit one more into their four-year schedule. 

“We don’t have a required diversity course at Chapman. There are so many race and identity types of classes already offered. Having a diversity class would open the gates a little bit. It would be a really great thing for everyone.” 

To listen to Ramya go in depth on these points and cover more of her Chapman experience, listen to the full podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora or here on our landing page. 

We strongly encourage you all to read the full action plan here, and then sign the petition in support of the action plan here! Visit the BSU Instagram for more resources. Thank you for being our featured guest this week, Ramya. Have a great week everyone and see you all around Old Towne!

 

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