Diversity commission sets plans
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Educational programs, discussion groups, book readings and monthly luncheons are just a few of the activities the Slippery Rock University President's Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity has planned for fall.
Michelle McCollin, associate professor of special education, and Frederick White, associate professor of English, co-chair the commission.
McCollin, buried in paperwork in her Dinger Education Building office, outlined the commission's work following its first meeting of the year.
"There is plenty to do, and we have plans," she said before ticking off a list of activities already on the drawing board and under way for fall semester.
"Our work is focused on the diversity of our campus, including those of bi-racial identity, whites, African-Americans, those of African heritage, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians," she said.
"We are continuing our mentoring program headed by Lorraine Stubbs, assistant director of SRU's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, and Corrine Gibson, director of SRU's Multicultural Development Office. The program involves providing SRU students with a mentor to help them understand others with diverse backgrounds as part of their Slippery Rock University education," McCollin said.
The commission is also planning a "Holiday Round the World" event Dec. 14 in the University Union that will spotlight a number of holiday customs celebrated by others. "The program will show diversity and commonality among various groups. The program will help other understand such celebrations as Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and Christmas," she said.
"The 'book club' portion of our commission is reading 'Debating Race with Michael Eric Dyson,' and we will have discussions about the book and its implications," she said.
Dyson is a two-time NAACP Image Award winner and University of Pennsylvania professor. He is also host of the Michael Eric Dyson Show and an advice columnist for Essence magazine.
"And, we are planning our annual Native American Celebration for Nov. 4," McCollin said.
The commission's mission is to increase the number of people of color who choose to work/study at Slippery Rock University. It encourages their participation in all facets of University life by striving to nurture a campus climate that is free of discrimination, intolerance and bigotry. It works toward an understanding and appreciation of cultural differences among faculty, students and staff.
The commission's goals include,
• Assisting with University efforts to recruit and retain minority students, faculty and staff by identifying prospective candidates for admission or employment as well as cultural issues that might cause students and employees to want to leave the University;
• Advising the president regarding inclusion as well as work to alleviate barriers and obstacles;
• Serving as advocates for, and leaders of, the institutional changes required for Slippery Rock University to become a multicultural campus community respectful of all people;
• Assessing campus climate as it pertains to racial diversity and make recommendations for improvement;
• Recommending training programs or curriculum changes to enable students, faculty and staff to function in a diverse society;
• Addressing racism, ethnic violence and ethnic intimidation should such incidents occur;
• Promoting activities that demonstrate the University's commitment to diversity;
• Reviewing campus policies for their effect on people of color addressing issues of adverse impact;
• Providing a vehicle for communication between students, faculty and staff of color and the University administration; and
• Providing personal and professional support and mentoring to new faculty and staff who are persons of color.