I have come to realize that throughout the communities I operate in, there is a consistent thread of defining who is a part of our community. Inherently, this defines who is not a part of our community.
In particular, I look at diversity affairs organizations and professionals. Most, follow a restrictive explicit definition, which usually lists the legally protected minorities defined in the laws of the country or territory. Therefore, if you are not a defined minority, your lack of power or smaller numbers leaves you exposed outside the defined protections.
For example, look at your university statement on commitment to diversity. Do they mention students with family (children, spouses), do they mention students with different visa statuses?
Now, look at the students that make up your community. How many of them could be excluded from events, opportunities, activities because of one or the other of these characteristics?
Would a broader statement on commitment to diversity be better? Perhaps making a statement that says “for any group of students in the minority, based on an inherent characteristic of their identity, we will support your success to make you equal among us”. But, is this type of statement a possibility considering the current climate? What would be the real impact?
Some things to consider: Loss of federal funding/support for programs that give international students equality; discontent among nationalist students/faculty/staff; where the borders exist in terms of feelings of safety, support, security among students.
Yeah. I don’t have the answers. I am still looking.