A summit titled, “Supporting the Success of Male Students of Color,” brought to campus 300 students and employees from the 19 area campuses who have joined the Leading for Change Higher Education Diversity Consortium.
President Dana Mohler-Faria kicked off the summit, explaining the importance of the event.
“We haven’t gotten the whole dance down yet, but we are moving, in rhythm,” he said. “Today’s event is about that rhythm. It is about how we understand looking at males of color. It is about…creating that success, not only on this campus but everywhere.”
The event sought an increased understanding of cultural and campus-related factors that can impede the success of men of color, as well as those that can support their success.
“Catching all of those who need support, no matter what,” is key, said Dr. Mohler-Faria.
The challenges on this front are manifold, said Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, director of institutional diversity at BSU. The results can be devastating to students of color.
“Men of color face persistent opportunity gaps in higher education, and this is evidenced in the disparate retention and graduation rates reported by most institutions of higher education of men of color in comparison to white men, as well as those of women of all racial groups,” she said.
On the table for discussion were best practices related to supporting the success of men of color on college campuses. This sums up the mission of the Leading for Change Consortium, Dr. Gentlewarrior said.
“It is to engage in data-driven diversity best practices to support the success of all students and employees on our campuses, while also eliminating opportunity gaps for students and employees from under-represented populations,” she said.
Those gathered were invited to developed plans of action for their campuses’ efforts to support this mission.
Marvin Ezhan, ’15, president of the BSU student group Men Integrated in Brotherhood, spoke on the importance of overcoming adversity, and showing those who don’t believe in you that you are capable of accomplishing your dreams.
“Every day is amazing to me. Every day we are given the opportunity to prove people wrong,” he said. (Story and photos by Caitlin Seddon, University News)