MU Diversity Initiative hosts educational sessions

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COLUMBIA - The Chancellor's Diversity Initiative is hosting a series of events with the goal of promoting understanding through education. This event, among others, is a way for MU to address some of the grievances brought to light during a semester of protests and tension on the Columbia campus.

The group is hosting its second event, called "Recognizing and Addressing Microaggressions", Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. in Memorial Union.

According to the website, the goal of the session is for attendees to "learn to recognize microaggressions, understand the issue of intent vs. impact, increase awareness in order to avoid making unintentional microaggressions, and learn strategies for addressing and confronting microaggressions."

Senior Educational Program Coordinator Niki Stanley said the sessions are fundamentally a way to create self awareness and promote understanding.

The microaggression session is open to only faculty and staff, and there is a limit of 40 people for this session. Those who wish to attend will be placed on a wait list if they do not register before the limit is reached.

Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner said the goal of the initiative is to create a knowledge base and give people "the right tools in their toolbox" to create an optimal research, teaching and learning environment for everyone.

Along with education, she said there is an important way that everyone can promote acceptance and diversity. 

"We also need to have a really serious and deep conversation with each other in a meaningful way because we cannot move forward if we don't do that. It really is about understanding you and understanding me," Azizan-Gardner said.

The next series of events from the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative will begin Feb. 23 and is titled "Let's Talk about Race."