Campus-wide discussion on diversity continues


Stephanie Skora, senior in LAS expresses diversity issues that are relevant to the campus community at the Ikenberry Commons on Tuesday.

By Darrah Perryman

Conversation about diversity and inclusivity has spread throughout campus in the wake of events such as the rescindment of Steven Salaita’s employment and reports on racial microaggressions.

Many have argued that the campus has become divided over such issues and the University has lost appearances of prominent lecturers as a result.

Anita Hill, attorney and civil rights activist, was scheduled to speak for the series on April 9, but canceled her lecture due to the controversy over Steven Salaita according to an article she wrote for the Huffington Post.

The launch of the Many Voices Campaign, hosted by Inclusive Illinois, Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other leadership offices, brings to life a campus-wide mission to highlight the lack of diversity and school spirit through discussions and lectures.

The campaign features six lectures hosted by diversity experts from across the country.

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    In addition to the conversations run by campus leaders, the series includes two student-led discussions on campus.

    A campus conversation on diversity and school spirit was held Tuesday at the Ikenberry Commons.

    Students were able to voice their concerns regarding diversity at the University to campus leaders including Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other faculty members.

    “The people who need to hear these conversations do not make enough effort to come to these events,” said former Illini Media employee, Rochelle Wilson, junior in Media. “I believe that the University does not make enough effort to bring awareness to these different groups so that they would come to these events … ”

    Students also discussed the initiative requiring students to take one non-western and one U.S. minority general education class, the failure to address minority issues and LGBTQ rights and representation on campus.

    Menah Pratt-Clarke, associate chancellor and associate provost for diversity, said the administration has been hearing about issues that affect students on campus for awhile and hopes to make faculty members more aware at a diversity discussion Wednesday morning.

    Over 160 faculty and staff members will attend the discussion to share their opinions and suggestions.

    “We want to hear (faculty and staff) voices and their ideas because ultimately it’s going to take everyone to make change,” Pratt-Clarke said. “We need to have that buy-in and support and their ideas.”

    The series continues on April 9 when Pratt-Clarke will give a lecture on social justice and the campus climate in Hill’s place.

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