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Diversity discussion challenges perspectives

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 01:02

To open up the Texas A&M Social Justice Week, the Department of Multicultural Services presented a workshop Monday titled, “Who Hates the “D” Word,” to address diversity on campus.

Dianne Kraft, diversity education coordinator, and P.J. Jones, diversity education specialist, hosted the workshop. The workshop served as a forum for discussion concerning the reservations that students on campus have with discussing diversity.

Before the discussion began, two students weighed in their perceptions on the representation of diversity at A&M.

Taryn Laughlin, senior community health major, said she saw A&M as a diverse campus that was inclusive of all cultural backgrounds.

Tiffany Goericke, sophomore allied health major, mirrored Laughlin’s thoughts. Goericke said she too saw A&M as a diverse campus, and that she saw students as courteous and accepting of others.

In the discussion, the students and speakers alike looked deeper into some of the problematic issues encountered on campus such as discrimination and stereotypes.

Kraft said in her presentation that not all discriminatory actions on campus are “overt in nature,” most, in fact, are “discreet or subtle.”

Students reflected further on their personal experiences and interactions where they felt that members of the University discriminated others.

After discussing examples of diversity they felt were problematic, students were encouraged to brainstorm resolutions on how the University could address and work to resolve these disparities and discomforts with the diversification of A&M’s student body.

Both Laughlin and Goericke said they felt a change in their perception of the issue of diversity on campus after the forum.

Laughlin said after hearing the passion from the two presenters, she wanted to become more open-minded and active in promoting diversity on campus.

Goericke said the workshop would help her apply the concepts she learned to her daily life.

“Before I thought, ‘Well yeah, we’re diverse being all different groups and classes, but when it comes down to it, everyone goes their separate ways,’” Goericke said.

 

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