Campus Forum Discusses Diversity

Michaela Priddy, Supervising Editor

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On Monday night, November 14, the Black Student Union (BSU) and Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a forum called The Voice on campus in Rogers Hall to address any concerns and suggestions of becoming and accepting a more diverse campus. Jeremy Pittman, Vice President of Admissions, moderated the event that lasted from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“As the voice of the students, we feel like this is an important discussion that will hopefully be the first of many,” said Kylie Davis, SGA member, at the beginning of the forum in front of the audience that filled up Rogers Hall that night.

Pittman asked a series of questions provided by the BSU for students and faculty to respond to, giving 10 minutes for each question and one to two minutes for each person.

Questions included whether anyone had felt excluded based on race, sex, sexual orientation or any other reason, the campus environment for diversity and openness, and the effect more diversity might have on the campus as a Methodist college. Professors also asked questions on how they could improve the campus environment for minorities and make the campus more diverse.

Many stated that people on campus are cliquish and exclude themselves from different and diverse groups because they are too afraid of not belonging. Students encouraged their peers to introduce themselves to someone different from them, just to see what happens. Some suggestions to encourage this type of interaction were more social activities on campus.

Dominique Caminos, leading organizer of the event, pointed out that the campus didn’t have a professional to guide minorities or to help talk about differences like other major campuses. She suggested that this is something that might help improve problems of the lack of diversity on campus. Caminos also expressed a concern that Kentucky Wesleyan College’s lack of diversity was not successfully teaching students how to interact with a diverse world.

The majority of people who spoke at the forum believed that by becoming more diverse, the school’s image would improve and encourage people to attend the school. Student Lionel Campbell suggested reaching out all over the country, similar to the sport’s outreach programs, would help increase diversity.

“This year, I have noticed we have had more minorities here then all the years preceding, and I have felt the happiest this year because I feel it is a healthier environment to see,” said Dr. Suzanne Rose, Associate Professor of English at KWC. “There is more diversity I have seen here before, and I think it’s such a good thing for the college and I hope we can continue.”

President Bart Darrell was pleased with how the forum went that night, stating in an email sent out to students that, “I was so proud of the high level discussion exhibited by you students who attended. It was inspiring, educational and gave me so much hope for not just Wesleyan, but for our country because you will be moving out into the ‘real world’ soon and making a difference.”

Many people hope that there will be more forums similar to The Voice in the future. It’s important to realize that even as students on campus learn academically, it’s also equally, if not more, important to learn how to understand the richly diverse population as well.

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