Student Equity Task force wraps up the year

Exploring how students aim to make MVHS a better place


Arushi Singh

Students collaborate together in their monthly meetings

Pranati Kotamraju

Created in late spring 2022, the Student Equity Taskforce is a student-staff partnership which aims to identify and mitigate inequities within our MVHS community. Originally developed to give students a voice, this organization focuses on making MVHS more inclusive by highlighting underrepresented groups in MVHS.

Initially, there were two staff groups working on these issues: the Equity Task Force and the Social Emotional Learning Task Force. During remote learning, students took the initiative to create a student Equity Task Force through a Discord server with the help of Principal Ben Clausnitzer. However, after in person schooling resumed, the server became inactive after most of the seniors involved in the discord graduated. In response, more students started to express interest in continuing the task force, which led to Clausnitzer combining the staff and student groups in late spring of 2022. 

“[The Student Equity Task Force] was created because [the admin] wanted to address equity and the entire admin thought that equity couldn’t be addressed without students playing a role and speaking out,” junior Harshitha Nandula said. “So it was created so that students could talk about what they saw was going on around campus and what they thought the possible solution was.”

To address various initiatives, the task force split into six groups, each of which tackle specific issues such as campus inclusivity, advisory and mental health awareness. For example, junior Samhita Kashyap’s group specifically focuses on club inclusivity. According to Kashyap, MVHS is a STEM oriented school, and she believes that non STEM related clubs don’t get enough recognition in comparison. Her priority is to make students feel more comfortable joining certain clubs and feel represented in them. Throughout the year, several surveys and interviews are conducted — where they ask for student and staff opinions on what issue they feel is most relevant to focus on — as well as monthly meetings, in which the task force meets up and discusses progress on goals.

Junior Piyush Shanbhag explains that the taskforce has no final goal, as he says the process of enforcing equity always has room for improvement. While they are hoping to have some changes by 2026, Shanbhag says that there will always be new issues arising that will need to be addressed. 

“The overarching goal of the Student Equity Task force is to ultimately make the community a better place, with ‘better’ containing everything from being more inclusive, providing underrepresented groups [with] a voice and celebrating all cultures and backgrounds,” Shanbhag said. “By identifying ways Monta Vista as a community can improve for the future, we wish to leave a legacy for subsequent years of the Task Force.”

Nandula agrees and says the Student Equity Task Force is a place where students’ voices can be heard, and is meant to be a melting pot of perspectives, so that there is a greater representation of the overall student body. She also stresses the importance of pursuing equity instead of equality, and how the taskforce focuses on giving more opportunities to students who don’t have the same amount of resources.

“We need more voices,” Kashyap said. “This matters. If anybody ever feels like there’s this disparity in Monta Vista, and there is something going on that makes me feel bad that there’s this going on this makes me feel bad. If you ever feel that way, then this is like something you should be a part of, there is a place for you here.”