AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- Incoming Auburn University Student Government Association President Dane Block and the President of Auburn University’s Black Student Union John Otis Blanding have responded to points brought up in Eagle Eye TV’s report naming the new SGA executive officers and discussing the lack of diversity in the incoming executive team.
"I do realize that there isn’t the visual representation that some may be looking for. However, diversity is more than what meets the eye," Block wrote to Eagle Eye TV. "We have a group of individuals that bring different opinions, mind sets, and goals to the table."
The incoming executive team, which is comprised entirely of white students, is the least racially diverse SGA executive group in recent years.
In his statement, Block also pointed to incoming Executive Vice President of Outreach Jordan Kramer, who openly identifies as gay. "As a member of the LGBT community, Jordan allows us to represent a group that SGA hasn’t been adequately reached in the past," wrote Block.
Auburn BSU President John Otis Blanding commented on the lack of minority representation by saying, "This year's SGA executive board must take on a sense of creativity to combat the unfortunate, yet inevitable sentiments spurring from the absence of a minority representative."
Blanding added that BSU will continue its open door policy.
"Representation is important to us and vast majority of the student body," Blanding said, "however, we will not allow perception to distract us from the ultimate goal--unity through education. Now is the time for us to grab our fellow student leaders by the hand and continue to move towards a more inclusive and diverse campus climate as a collective unit."
Blanding went on to express his confidence in the new SGA leaders.
"I have full confidence in these thought leaders to take on this task with fervor and grace," wrote Blanding. "BSU will continue to advocate for diversity sciences at various layers of campus."
In addition to the lack of racial diversity, all new SGA executive members come from an SGA background, with none coming from outside the organization. This differs substantially from outgoing SGA President Jacqueline Keck's administration, which had at least two executive team members who had not previously served in Auburn SGA roles before.
This comes as SGA leaders have increasingly pushed for new campus inclusion and diversity initiatives.
For this story Eagle Eye TV also reached out to the President of Auburn's International Student Organization Mingyu Zhao, SGA's current Executive Vice President of Outreach Brianna Thomas and Auburn's Office of Inclusion and Diversity, but did not get comments back at the time of publication.