Forum targets segregation

By Erin Lindsay

The Urbana-Champaign Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity and Access will hold its first annual “Legally Integrated, but Socially Segregated” forum, Monday at 7 p.m.

The forum, held at WILL-TV in Campbell Hall, 300 N. Goodwin Ave., aims to discuss a variety of activities and situations on campus in which self-segregation plays a factor, said Regine Rucker, graduate student and committee member.

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“Every student should be interested in this forum because whether we acknowledge this or not, it exists,” Rucker said. “We still have segregation. It’s not legal, but it occurs.”

Topics will include study groups, dining halls, parties, housing, sexual orientation and Greek life.

The goal of the forum is to find out how and why students segregate themselves on campus. The forum is open to all students and faculty.

Zenobia Ravji, sophomore in LAS and chairperson for the ISS Cultural and Minority Affairs Committee, said the discussion is much needed on the University’s campus.

“This University is about growth and progression,” Ravji said. “You can’t have that unless you truly get to know others. Self-segregation is catalyzed by ignorance. This is a way to break that down.”

She said she hopes students use the forum to find solutions and not just linger on the problems.

“If you don’t learn to understand people’s differences in college, it will just carry over into the workplace,” Ravji said. “We’re going to think of ways to stop self-segregation, not just the problem. We’re going to come up with solutions.”

The open mic style discussions will give students a chance to open their ears in a safe environment free of judgment, Rucker said.

“Hopefully this will be the first of many conversations,” Rucker said.