Representatives from many parts of the University joined hands and hearts in the name of promoting diversity and improving the racial climate on Monday in Vets Hall. There were faculty and staff as well as students there. Faculty and staff were from all departments: Athletics, Student Involvements, Psychology, Business, Academic Advising, and more. No matter where they came from, everyone had one goal in mind: to discuss the current racial climate on campus, and how we can improve it.
The room was set in a manner that would allow conversation. Round tables sat students, faculty, and “moderators”. Each table was equipped with three sticky notes, statistics on the current racial representation on campus, as well as an evaluation. These materials would assist in the discussion session in the forum.
Opening remarks were given by Rebecca Jimenez, Director of Student Involvement and Activities, Rebecca Comage and Julia Golden of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, and Lucibelle Delgado, SGA President. They talked about being an active listener and to not be afraid to speak up. They stressed that the forum was an open place for all opinions to be heard.
A conversation about college climate and activism followed. Activism is no stranger to college campuses, as highlighted in the last blog post. The videos shown to accompany this discussion also brought up the general racial climate on college campuses. Some college campuses were said to have a high percentage white population because of discrimination in the acceptance process.
Student had a lot to say, even in this discussion. One student mentioned that if you don’t let activism play out, you are enabling a pattern and not letting truth be heard.
Following was a discussion on the three C’s of the afternoon: connection, concern, and community building. What is your connection to Salem State? What are your concerns? How will you go about making change.
The relationships with coworkers and students at SSU as well as the amount of self-growth achieved here are the connections people have to this university. The concerns of the attendees include lack of diversity in administration and students, microaggressions, lack of education on race topics, and more. Suggestions included more education of on racial topics, student group collaboration, classes concerning race, and more.
Additionally, there was a conversation on social media using the hashtag:
Attendees were using it, and offices like ours and First Year Success was, too. Here are some social media highlights:
The conversation is not over. There will be more conversation on campus, and if you have any more ideas for activism on campus, tweet it with the hashtag #SSU4Activism.