SGA diversity & inclusion Candidates

With Black History Month coming to an end in just a couple of days, it is essential for SLU’s community to be educated and reflect on the past and present implications of the injustices our society has put marginalized communities through. More importantly, it is critical to hold the university accountable to ensure the highest standard of equality and inclusion is guaranteed to its students, emphasizing that SLU takes appropriate action to empower and protect vulnerable communities, while actively working to prevent any form of hatred and injustice from happening. 

Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association (SGA) strives to create a space for students to participate in representative student government as they provide an open forum for dialogue and voices with regards to student opinions concerning the affairs of the University. Elections debates will be held on February 24, while voting for the executive board will be held on Wednesday, March 2. 

SGA’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion position is responsible for aiding the executive board in creating SGA policies while actively working with SLU faculty and students to ensure these standards are being implemented. Additionally, the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion develops programs that promote a safe, diverse and ethical environment in which students can succeed, spread their knowledge and expand beyond their horizons.

This year’s SGA diversity and inclusion candidates are Marquis D. Govan and Nicholas Brown. 

Marquis D. Govan is a first-year Social Work and Sociology major. He is currently involved in Residence Hall Association, SGA, African American Male Scholars, Martin Luther King Scholars, Billikens for Reproductive Justice and SLU Social Work. His post-graduation plans are to obtain his Master’s of Social Work and attend law school. 

Nicholas (Nick) Brown is a junior studying economics. He is currently involved in several campus organizations such as Young Americans for Freedom, College Republicans, St. Edmund Campion Society, Students for Life, the SLU Thomistic Institute, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute at SLU. Upon graduating, he hopes to attend law school and work with a non-profit organization to inspire students to stand up for freedom of speech and expression.

Nick Baker:

What are your motives for taking this position?

“True diversity and inclusion in a university setting requires that individuals with differing viewpoints and perspectives encounter each other’s thoughts and ideas in an environment in which we are all comfortable supporting and challenging each other’s viewpoints. In order to accomplish this goal, we must ensure that freedom of speech and expression is upheld and expanded on campus.”

What personal meanings do diversity and inclusion hold to you?

“I think that it is basically everything I said in my motives for wanting to take on the position.”

When did you first learn of these concepts? What were your initial reactions? What are your proposed ways of handling injustices?

“I honestly don’t remember when I first heard about diversity and inclusion and what my reactions were so I don’t think I can effectively answer.”

What are your proposed ways of handling injustices?

“In order to address injustice at SLU and beyond, we must take the persuasion approach of seeking to change hearts and change minds through outreach and engagement.”

How do you respond to people who simply do not care or turn a blind eye to injustice?

“As students at a Catholic university, we are called to uphold the dignity of each and every person. When we encounter injustice, we should take action to ensure that the situation is rectified.”

Marquis Govan:

What are your motives for wanting to take on this position?

“I have a strong passion for racial, social and economic justice that guides me each and every day. I love our university and especially our larger STL community. I think it’s really important that we create a campus environment where everyone feels safe and welcome. I want to ensure that Black students and students of color know that their lives are valued. I want trans and queer students to feel that their identities are celebrated. In addition, I want to stand with a large portion of female identifying folks on this campus who report being sexually assaulted or harassed. Long story short, no matter who you are, who you love, how you pray or how you identify I want SLU to be a place for you too and I will fight to make sure that’s your reality.”

What personal meanings do diversity and inclusion hold to you?

“Diversity and Inclusion is about building spaces where everyone feels accepted and welcome. It is truly about making sure folks can bring their full beings into a space and feel comfortable about where they are. I view it as a chance to enrich each other’s views by bringing tons of multi-faceted perspectives that will only work to help us learn from each other. The determination behind these two concepts is to build a world where there is truly justice for all.”

When did you first learn of these concepts? What were your initial reactions? What are your proposed ways of handling injustices?

“I got my start very young. I was involved in movements for racial justice right here in STL after the murders of Michael Brown, Vonderrit Myers and Anthony Lamar Smith. I organized with folks around equal access to quality education which is so often determined by one’s zip code. I also worked with several advocacy groups on issues of bodily autonomy, labor rights, housing and criminal justice reform. I think handling injustice requires a movement of people who understand that change happens when people come together to confront systematic rot. My ways of handling injustices are advocating on behalf of individuals but seeing the bigger picture in that most if not all issues of injustice are a result of widespread institutional disregard for marginalized peoples.”

How do you respond to people who simply do not care or turn a blind eye to injustice?

“It is a privilege to turn your eyes away from injustice. Turning a blind eye to injustice says a lot about one’s character. Though for those who ignore the plight of the marginalized, we must all collectively respond by mobilizing and organizing for a future unto which the thought of doing so is unconscionable.”