FOJ introduces new committee

Diversity, inclusion, equity at forefront in developing initiative


Friends of Jones introduced a Diversity and Equity Committee to ensure all clubs and students access to FOJ grants, Diversity and Equity Committee chairwomen Latrice MacArthur said. 

In light of Black Lives Matter protests and the universal crusade for racial justice, the committee was implemented to better support students of color and other marginalized populations. 

FOJ committee person Jackie Papadopoulos said the idea of the committee came after FOJ attended a dismantling white supremacy in schools conference this summer.

Papadopoulos said the committee is still in formation. However, MacArthur said she emailed all club leaders to “increase visibility” for the grant process. The new committee plans to reach out to the whole school.

“We’ve always had a liaison for the counselors,” said MacArthur. “But we are also working with them and their diversity initiatives for students as they are making sure that all students, but particularly students of color, have what they need, the support that they need and plans for the college application, successful college careers, and beyond.”

Papadopoulos said FOJ’s annual budget ranges from 200 thousand dollars to 300 thousand dollars. Papadopoulos said the budget comes from the Jones 5K, annual fund, and the Spring benefit. She said there is no favoritism to any sort of group like athletics or the arts, but there has been more of a demand for technology.

“The Diversity Committee is really one that is unique in that its sole purpose is not to be another avenue of fundraising,” said Papadopolous. “It’s really just concerned with making sure that everybody has equal knowledge and access to the funding that we do provide, as well as equal access to participating, or volunteering and things like that.”

Papadopolous said students will have to submit grants for items/services they need in their clubs. FOJ will discuss the grant in their board meetings and make sure it fits into the budget or “constitutes” as something FOJ could pay for. 

MacArthur said that the committee  generated a positive reaction from the Jones community, as well as improved communication between administration and the student body.

“It is [the committee’s job] to make sure that you are feeling heard and that when you do return to the building that it is a place where everyone feels comfortable,” said MacArthur. “We want to make sure that the students that are active in Jones, understand that we are there to support them and whatever their endeavors are.”

MacArthur placed emphasis on student-organization communication, especially in regard to highlighting club spotlights/needs.

“So, if you send your information over to me and I can highlight it, in our newsletter, then you know the families and communities that receive a newsletter can say, ‘Oh, I love that – I would like to find that,’” said MacArthur. “[In terms of outreach], we’ll look for guidance from young people like yourself to say ‘hey, this is not working for us.’”