The University of Colorado Boulder’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement (ODECE) held the Fall 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14.
The summit consisted of 60 sessions surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion across all four of CU’s campuses. Former President of Spelman College Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum was the featured speaker at the event. Tatum, who is also a psychologist and author, focuses on the topics of racial identity, race in education and strategies for inclusive learning environments.
According to the ODECE website, Tatum “drew the largest summit audience ever.”
Later, Peter Crosier-Cajina and Karissa Stolen of CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus spoke about their campus’ Staff Inclusive Excellence Ad-Hoc Committee (SIEC). The presentation was followed by a panel of four SIEC members: Amanda Beyer-Purvis, Beauty Jobe, Timothy Oakberg and Carissa Smith.
The committee was created after Stolen submitted a proposal to Staff Council in May 2018 asking for support in developing a committee for LGBTQ people. Community Care Coordinator Peter Crosier-Cajina then took interest in the project and aimed to expand its scope to all marginalized groups.
“This was coming at a time where politically, there was this conversation circling around [Hispanic and Latino] persons being kind of seen as illegals,” Crosier-Cajina said. “My identity as a gay male didn’t really matter to me as much as Hispanic/Latino.”
Marginalized people, Crosier-Cajina and Stolen noted, are often part of multiple minority groups, which makes intersectionality an important aspect to consider when working on inclusivity and diversity initiatives.
According to Stolen, the ultimate goal of the session was to show the inclusion and diversity initiatives the Anschutz campus is taking so that people on other campuses can mirror something similar.
In another presentation at the summit, members of CU Boulder’s four Chancellor’s Advisory Committees spoke about the achievements, ongoing projects and goals of their respective committees. The committees are the Chancellor’s Standing Committee on Gender & Sexuality (GSC), the Chancellor’s Committee on Race & Ethnicity (CCORE), the Chancellor’s Committee for Women (CCW) and the Chancellor’s Accessibility Committees (CAC).
All committees agreed upon a common goal of building community among members of marginalized groups on CU Boulder’s campus.
Undergraduate students are welcome and strongly encouraged to join any of the committees.
CU’s United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) gave a presentation titled “Increasing Racial Diversity in Graduate Programs”, formerly named “Small Solutions: What Departments can be Doing to be More Inclusive.”
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD student Javan Carter stressed the importance for graduate departments at CU to examine the proportions of minority students applying to and being accepted into graduate programs.
“In my department, when I first got there, I did not see any black people whatsoever,” Carter said.
Carter proposed several methods of recruiting and retaining more minority students as well as connecting with diverse prospective students. These proposals included, but were not limited to, an implementation of the National Name Exchange and CDI Ambassador Programs.
“The idea of the plan is that we have some guidance,” Spanish and Portuguese PhD student Juan García Oyervides said.
CU’s departments, he continued, must “come together and decide together that this experience of a lack of diversity that we are talking about is not good.”
“I always liked Crayola crayons, and I always thought that having different colors in there — having rainbows in there, having everything in there — is what makes a box of Crayola crayons so amazing,” Carter said.
Contact News Staff Writer Anna Haynes at Anna.Haynes@colorado.edu.