Office of Residence Life discusses diversity efforts in third I AM ANTIRACIST campaign event
The Office of Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS) held its third event as part of the I AM ANTIRACIST campaign in the Bovee University Center on Feb. 22.
The presentation, led by executive director of Residence Life, Kathleen Gardner, covered steps Central Michigan University is taking to become more antiracist within the residential communities.
Gardner discussed a document her office created to hold CMU accountable when dealing with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She said students are welcome to access the document by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Racism and oppression is a thing; we’re naming that,” Gardner explained. “Just because we’re on a college campus does not mean that those things don’t happen within our campus community,”.
She talked about the steps CMU has taken to focus on equity and justice within the last six years including increasing training for professionals and paraprofessionals, redesigning the inclusion assistant program and adding more inclusive artwork in residence halls.
“We know that our full-time staff does not match the diversity of the undergraduate student population at CMU,” Gardner said.
According to the document, revising the hiring and selection process of faculty members is one way to increase diversity.
Gardner explained that CMU wants to hire more staff that have underrepresented and marginalized identities. She said the university has also focused on training staff members about systemic racism, handling racial traumas and familiarizing themselves with holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We have done everything we can to educate our team,” Gardner said.
Few audience members were in attendance. One senior, Emma Massey, said students should make an effort too.
She said during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she thought students with the Multicultural Advancement and Lloyd M. Cofer (MAC) Scholarships were encouraged to attend activities like the CommUNITY Peace March and Vigil more than non-scholarship recipients.
“I feel like it would be more beneficial for other groups to be encouraged or required to go and learn from that,” she said.
According to Gardner, once the university's website redesign is complete there will be a page with information about the inclusion assistant program, plans and assessment data and all other resources in one place.
"When the website is done, eventually our vision is that we will have a button for equity and justice on our website," she said.