Diversity Discussed at State of the Student Address

Photo by Hope Patti

The Anisfield School of Business held the State of the Student Address on Thursday, where student life was discussed as part of Higher Education Awareness week. Student Government Association President Alec Weissman gave the address, urging Ramapo students to get involved and take advantage of the many different events hosted on campus.

“We cannot continue to sit in our rooms on the weekend and pretend like there is nothing to do. This is simply not the reality. Go out, get involved and have some fun,” said Weissman.

The discussion hit a heavier note when past issues on campus were brought up such as sexual assault incidents.

“As a student body we need to work together to protect our fellow Ramapo students,” said Weissman.

According to Weissman, SGA has written letters in support of prevention programs such as “Violence Awareness Week” and the “It’s On Us" campaign.

“We as a student body will be able to do more than one organization or individual ever could. Every student deserves to be protected and safe at Ramapo,” said Weissman.

Another issue that Weissman addressed was racial inclusion on campus. He noted that there is a small percentage of minorities on campus and that the community must maintain a dialogue about issues of diversity in order for change to occur.

“I think that more students of color need to be enrolled in the school,” said senior Raven Jones. “They should make it so that people of color want to come here. When a student of color comes to visit the school and go on a tour, they don’t see too many people that look like them. I think that the cost of tuition plays a huge role in that too.”

Student Trustee Josef Weikl also made an appearance at the event to speak about Higher Education Awareness Week. His discussion included a presentation that quizzed the audience on what they know about funding in higher education. There were several gasps from the audience after they heard some of the facts, including that over half of Ramapo College graduating seniors graduated with debt in 2014.

“I was shocked when I heard that so many people were in debt after graduating,” said Alex Seedes. “It makes me wonder why the school doesn’t give more financial aid to kids that excel in school and have good grades.”

Weikl went on to note that the main goals of Higher Education Awareness Week are to inform students about insufficient state funding, highlight funding’s impact on students and provide avenues for students to initiate change.