Joint Committee on Appropriations met at USD in Vermillion Monday

VERMILLION, S.D.(WNAX)- Members of the Joint Committee on Appropriations on their east river tour this week made a stop at USD in Vermillion Monday to talk about diversity.

A number of students that work with the Center for Diversity and Community on campus told the legislators how important that center was to them and other minority students.

Senator Maggie Sutton of Sioux Falls said she doesn’t like the words being used.

Sutton says she believes the organizations are pushing people apart.

Travis Letellier, interim associate vice president for diversity at USD told the group there seems to be some confusion between what student groups are doing and his office.

On campus diversity issues and how universities are handling them has become an issue between some legislators and the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Brian Maher, Regents Executive Director, was at the meeting of the Joint Committee on Appropriations at USD on Monday and says the Regents are working on a more comprehensive policy on diversity.

Maher says the Regents hope to come up with a policy by fall.

Maher says there are a range of opinions on how the issue should be handled.

Some legislators on the committee also questioned the number of state employees involved in diversity efforts and if federal funds were involved.

USD President Sheila Gestring told the legislators they are holding off on finding a new vice president for diversity.