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90.5 WESA's collection of stories on race, diversity, LGBT, gender and age-related stories.

Pitt Students To Form Diversity Council

On Monday, nearly 20 student organizations are expected to meet with community leaders at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland to announce the formation of a student-run diversity council.

The organization will work with university officials, students and the greater Pittsburgh area to bring attention to diversity-related problems, said Ernest Rajakone, senior advisor for Pitt’s South Asian Student Association and a diversity council student organizer.

Rajakone said there are dozens of ethnic and cultural groups at Pitt, but there is a lack of unity among them.

“We already have these organizations in place that are catered to these specific communities, but it (the diversity council) is more of bringing us all together at the table so we can help advocate for and help promote a more diverse voice here on campus,” Rajakone said.

This won’t be Pitt’s first diversity council. A similar program was active in the early 2000s, but was never registered with the university and eventually dissolved.

The new council will be founded on the principle of collective liberation, which states everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, must work together for the world to be a better place. Rajakone said the collaboration between the South Asian community and the African American community is a prime example of how collective liberation can bring about change.

“It was actually with civil rights legislation that the immigration policies that kept severe quotas on South Asian immigration were removed,” Rajakone said. “So, it was through collaboration with their community that our community advanced its interests.”

The diversity council kickoff starts at 9 p.m. Monday and will feature speakers from We Change Pittsburgh and the Alliance for Police Accountability, among others.