Posted on March 25, 2011
Faculty and Staff
Parents and Visitors
Upholding Bridgewater State University's strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) organized, "Race Matters: Support, Dialogue and Action." The all-day conference provided an open forum where attendees could discuss issues of racism and learn about campus initiatives promoting equality.
Held throughout the day in the Dunn Conference Suite and the East Campus Commons were several topical workshops and panel discussions featuring approximately 30 Bridgewater State administrators, faculty, students and alumni. Workshop titles included: "Creating Teachable Moments in the Classroom: Issues of Racism and White Privilege" and "Working to Create Racial Equality," among others.
There were approximately 300 in attendance throughout the day.
In his welcoming remarks, President Dana Mohler-Faria
said in a world where race is still an issue, we as individuals need to challenge our personal beliefs. "Each of us needs to be prepared to confront, not only racism, but ourselves," he said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Nancy "Rusty" Barceló
, president of Northern New Mexico College and nationally renowned pioneer for academic multiculturalism, stressed to fellow academics the importance of promoting multiculturalism on campus. "It remains our task to create an inclusive environment. We cannot be culturally isolated," she told the capacity crowd in Dunn.
Dr. Barceló said during her four decades in academia as a student, then as top administrator for the University of Iowa, she felt isolated and underrepresented as a Chicina and a lesbian -- a person "coming in from the margins," she said. Experience taught Dr. Barceló that, to promote equality and inclusion, faculty and administrators from disparate walks of life need to join together in discourse. "We must bridge the divide between one another, our natural allies," she said.
The idea of white privilege -- that white people have a societal advantage over people of color -- was a focus of the event. Host Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior
, acting director of the OID, gave a call to action for attendees regarding the issue. "By the end of the conference, I want you to have written down one thing you are going to do to stand against white privilege and racism," she said.
Capping off the day was a student dance performance titled, "Heart Mountain." Dr. Michele Wakin
, acting executive assistant to the president, provided the closing remarks. (Story and photos by Rob Matheson, '07, Office of Institutional Communications)