As an organization of students representing our peers, it is critical that Student Council approaches its work from a racial equity lens. It is also important to acknowledge that Student Council has long been part of the power structure at a predominantly white institution and has not always built trust with underrepresented groups on campus. Aware of this past, Student Council is committed to anti-racist practice, allyship with underrepresented groups, and building a more equitable and just community at Mount Sinai, especially for BIPOC individuals.
In 2018, Student Council created two positions on its Steering Committee, Biomedical Inclusion Representatives (URiSM), to specifically make sure underrepresented groups were represented in all aspects of Student Council. Student Council has continued to build on that work through closer collaboration with underrepresented groups on campus, providing additional resources and attention to racial equity work, and making sure everyone on Student Council is carrying forward this work. See below for progress and new initiatives.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Subcommittee
Student Council started a Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Anti-Racism (DEIA) Subcommittee in August 2020 to bring additional focus to our efforts, in addition to the ongoing racial equity work across Student Council. This subcommittee is open to all students interested in supporting the current URiSM community at Sinai and advocating for an anti-racist and equitable learning and lab environment. Part of the subcommittee’s goal is to also alleviate some of the burden URiSM affinity groups and students face. As such, URiSM affinity groups are encouraged to suggest ideas and work with the subcommittee to bring about programming. Please reach out to the URiSM representatives with any questions.
In the wake of state-sanctioned murders of and violence towards Black people in the United States plus a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, the ISMMS Student National Medical Association (SNMA) launched a public letter in July 2020 calling for “a critical examination and paradigmatic change of the environment we live in, learn from, and contribute to.” Student Council supports the demands of this letter and is committed to working in partnership with SNMA to achieve them.
Student Group Retreat
Student groups (across all of the schools) were invited by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and Racism and Bias (RBI) Initiative to participate in a 2-hour retreat in September 2020 to share about their anti-racist work and reflect on how to leverage collective power and work together. Fifty-three groups were represented and a record of the retreat and anti-racism work by ISMMS student groups can be found here. Student Council is committed to supporting groups with resources and providing shared spaces for collaboration. As part of this commitment, Student Council created a new requirement for equity, inclusion, diversity, and anti-racism in funding.
Following the Student Group Retreat, ODI created a Google Form to track student hours spent on anti-racism work. Student Council believes students should be paid for this work and is committed to advocating for compensation.
Student Council partnered with the Racism and Bias Initiative to host a Chats for Change examining how professionalism and assimilation intersect with racism in the medical and scientific fields. Student Council will continue creating spaces for education and action on anti-racism.