Chancellor's Diversity Initiative takes aim at racial issues

1 year 6 months 1 week ago November 19, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 Thursday, November 19 2015 Thursday, November 19, 2015 11:47:00 AM CST in News
By: Alyssa Casares, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - In light of the recent events on MU's campus, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative has become an important talking point.

On MU's website, the initiative states, "Our goal is to expand opportunities for faculty, students and staff to engage and thrive in an increasingly diverse environment.  We work with administrators at all levels of the campus to focus on institutional change."

The initiative said it works to achieve this goal through workshops, seminars and facilitated dialogues to increase the understanding of diverse communities.

After MU's Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Chuck Henson, took office last week, he, along with other leadership members, said faculty and staff have begun to organize campus-wide events to address racial tensions.

"The process of making our campus as inclusive as it must be will not be easy. We have difficult conversations ahead, and we must all dedicate ourselves to learning together," said MU administrators said.

The Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative states, "We are working to become a more inclusive, creative and innovative research and learning environment that facilitates the competent functioning of students and employees in a diverse and competitive global society."

Some of the initiatives listed online include topics such as a Facilitator Guide for Departmental Discussions on RaceGeneral Guide to Facilitating DialoguesTips for Talking about Race and The Language of Identity: Using Inclusive Terminology.

In addition to MU's initiatives, the Diversity Awareness Partnership also offers a guide on Promoting Dialogue at the Dinner Table.

MU Associate Professor for Enthomusicology and Black Studies Stephanie Shonekan said the initiative office has always offered tips on its website before anything happened on campus.

"Perhaps those need to be expanded and broadened and deepened," Shonekan said.

She said during Henson's first week, he has been attentive and open to new ideas.

"That's what I've noticed in the one week," Shonekan said. "Hank Foley has reached out and we've had a really fruitful and in depth conversation about the issues. So I'm very hopeful."

Executive Director of the Mizzou Hillel Jeanne Snodgrass said, although the Hillel is not a university organization, she and some of her students have met with Foley to discuss the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative. 

"We have had discussions," Snodgrass said. "Students that are involved in our Jewish student group, and other student Jewish groups, have had a chance to talk with him."

The online initiative states, "We are working to become a more inclusive, creative and innovative research and learning environment that facilitates the competent functioning of students and employees in a diverse and competitive global society."

The Associated Press said the University of Missouri Board of Curators announced it wants to hear about minority students' experiences on campus and issues raised by graduate students at a meeting on Friday.

Upcoming Diversity Events: 

Columbia Public Library Latino Americans: 500 Years of History series - Nov. 4 - Nov. 19 

Soledad O’Brien speaks in Jesse Auditorium on social impacts of lacking diverse media representation, $5 for MU Students $10 for public – Tickets on sale Nov. 16 and event Dec. 3

Coping with Race-Related Stress: Sharing experiences and learning strategies – Starts Nov. 18 and will be weekly!   

Building Inclusive Communities workshop through NCCJ-STL - Nov. 20 

Tickets available for free for Diane Nash Featured Speaker for MU Celebrates MLK 2016 (Jan. 20 2016) – Nov. 30

 Food Insecurity & Indigenous Communities – Nov. 30

 World AIDS Day ft. Greg Louganis - Dec. 1 with day of HIV testing Stations. More info on stations here.

 Workplace Diversity Series: A is for Allyship – Dec. 2

 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Nomination DEADLINE – Dec. 4

 Solidarity Shabbat with Mizzou Hillel – Dec. 4

 Shabbat Dinner on Campus with Chabad at Mizzou – Dec. 4

 Hanukkah/Chanukah begins! – Dec. 6 at sundown

 Speaking of Culture series: ‘The Stranger Guest’: Literature and New Motherhood – Dec. 6

 Back on Board: Greg Louganis film viewing – Dec. 7

 Trans Awareness Outreach Panel – Dec. 9

 Interrupting Racism workshop through NCCJ-STL - Jan. 29

 

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