Setter Spotlights: The Diversity and Social Justice Committee


Mae Joseph

The Diversity and Social Justice committee took part in the recent student-led march.

Colby Payne, Contributing Writer

Ashley DeSalvo was a write-in for the Student Ambassador for Unity and Social Justice position during the April SGA elections.

DeSalvo , who won the election, prioritized implementing a Diversity Ambassador position on the Pleasantville campus. The NYC campus  already had the position built into their student government.

Brandon Joachim was selected for the position and the two began working together closely to seek improvements on campus.

Around the same time, gatherings were stemming up country-wide to protest the racial injustice in America. These protests fueled the minds of Joachim  and DeSalvo as they kept brainstorming for something that could provoke change and start conversations on campus.

Then the idea came for The Diversity and Social Justice Committee.

The committee of currently six people is in place to bring people of all backgrounds together to discuss social justice issues and promote change around them.

 Brandon Joachim felt it was important to have a diverse committee, stemming from an experience he had at a social justice panel when someone said “You can name all these black men who have died, but can you name more than two black women?” 

The committee all spoke about different reasons on the importance of imitating this committee on-campus.

Tianna Orwig said, “Pace is unique in the sense that we have experienced our own tragedy… that is a big reason we needed a committee, to spread more awareness about that.”

Orwig was alluding to the tragedy of  the killing of Pace football player DJ Henry in 2010. 

Orwig feels that there is not enough awareness of that history at Pace.

Orwig herself did not hear of the case until her second semester of freshman year, and only really learned about it when stars Jay-Z and Rihanna released a statement referencing the case. 

With COVID-19, it is harder for the committee to do everything they hope to eventually do.

Currently, they meet via zoom and do most of their work on social media. Through instagram, they post informational slides and share posts that inform the public on wrongdoings across the country and ways that they can help. On instagram, you can find these posts on @cultureoftheville and @unityandsocialjustice. 

For the future they have a lot in mind and many things in the works.

“A lot is planned but the ball is still rolling, but we are getting momentum” Joachim stated.

Some of the things the committee has in the works is retiring DJ Henry’s number, changing some of the curriculum to promote more education about different groups of people and an app where you can report racist remarks, instances and microaggressions on campus.

The committee also is apart of social justice week that will take place the week of DJ Henry’s birthday. This week will include a memorial that  will takes place on his birthday– Oct. 29th.

For now, the committee hopes to strengthen the culture at the Pleasantville campus and further educate people on social inequality, along with promoting speaking up to stop injustices.

“The main thing is for students to feel recognized, heard and safe, and educate everyone on what people go through to make Pace an inclusive space” exclaimed Orwig talking about what she hopes the committee can accomplish. 

“There is culture at the Pleasantville campus. In high school, a teacher told me he didn’t meet a black person until he went to college, college is such a transitional period for people, especially with so many people coming from around the world. College can be a big shock to people, there are so many different types of people, it’s important to have an understanding,” stated Joachim.