ASWSU discusses graduation regalia costs, opens conversation about cultural appropriation

Resolution calls for WSU administration to make caps, gowns more affordable



Mariela Frias, co-director of Diversity and Inclusion gives a public testimony in favor of ASWSU resolution 48-21 Wednesday night at the CUB.

DAISY ZAVALA, Evergreen managing editor

The ASWSU Senate passed its last pieces of legislation for this spring semester, which included resolutions that address the cost of graduation regalia and support for increased cultural awareness in the Greek community.

Senator Rachel Kenitzer authored a resolution that called for reduced regalia cost.

Kenitzer said ASWSU President Savannah Rogers reached out to her with concerns about how expensive it is to rent graduation garments.

The resolution calls on WSU administration to lower the regalia rental fees or find a vendor who can supply it at a lower cost.

Kenitzer said she would like to see WSU set aside regalia for students who wouldn’t be able to afford it.

“There are students that aren’t walking because they can’t afford [the cap and gown],” she said.

The Senate also approved a resolution authored by Senator Grace Lim, which called for support of increased cultural awareness in the Greek community.

Lim said the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity incident sparked conversations about cultural appropriation between the administration and the multicultural community.

A meeting between members of the Asian Pacific American Student Coalition and WSU administration on Feb. 4 ended with an agreement to do better as a student body, she said.

Lim said the resolution calls for a collaboration between the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, United Greek Council, National Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the ASWSU Department of Diversity and Inclusion.

The collaboration would be to establish accountability, minimize instances of cultural appropriation and educate about the topic.

It calls for the governing councils of the Greek community to implement preventive strategies, like a formal guideline in order to minimize instances of cultural appropriation and create a definition.

The resolution calls for Greek organizations to consider if their event requires the use of a culture’s heritage or symbol, be aware of any stereotypes, and aim to represent cultures in a respectful manner.

The goal is not to cancel events but rather discuss how representations of different cultures can be respectful if they will be used.

She said she hoped to open up a conversation between the multicultural and Panhellenic Greek communities about what cultural appropriation is and how to minimize it.

“It’s important for students to feel that their heritage is respected, and educated about in the wider community,” Lim said.