Students face no consequences for not attending iConnect


Ross Wantland

Students attend an I-Connect session, a workshop that helps first-year and transfer students understand inclusion and diversity on campus on June 19, 2017.

By Niani Scott, Staff Writer

Students will not face consequences for failure to attend I-Connect, a workshop all first-year and transfer students at the University are required to attend, said Ross Wantland, director of Diversity, Education and Social Justice under the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.

“I-Connect is a first-year experience that introduces concepts that discuss social identity and helping understand inclusion and diversity on campus,” Wantland said.

Insiya Syed, sophomore in LAS and I-Connect facilitator, said she believed there would be consequences for not attending I-Connect, such as not being able to graduate.

“It’s a graduation requirement, so if you want to graduate, go to I-Connect,” Syed said.

However, according to Wantland, students will face no consequences for not attending I-Connect.

“At this moment, the administration does not put a hold on students’ accounts,” Wantland said. “They do not receive any consequence other than missing the opportunity.”

Wantland said students personally lose out when they are not part of the experience, and I-Connect offers a rare opportunity for students to come together.

I-Connect workshops often include exercises in which facilitators lead students through activities, allowing them to discuss racial, gender, religious and social identities, and the effects of implicit bias.

“The best way to fight implicit bias is to make yourself aware of it, and not being defensive, and actually acknowledging that you might be affected by these stereotypes in a way that you don’t realize,” said Wendy Heller, head of the psychology department.

Syed said she enjoyed her I-Connect experience and wants to continue to be a facilitator throughout the remainder of her college career.

“I thought it was interesting because I didn’t know what microaggressions were, either. I knew that there was implicit bias, but I felt like I learned more (because of  I-Connect),” Syed said. “I had really good facilitators, so I felt like if I can create the kind of space that they created, then hopefully, it will be an enjoyable experience for other people, (too).”

Wantland said I-Connect gives students the opportunity to share their experiences with other people who have not been exposed to those particular experiences before.

“At this point, there is not a consequence for failing to attend, and that is not something that I am happy about,” Wantland said.

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