MASS office holds fifth event in I AM ANTIRACIST campaign

Photo: A member of the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute discusses the next installment of the I Am Antiracist workshop series to the crowd on Wednesday, March 30 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

The Office of Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS) held its fifth event, as part of the ongoing I AM ANTIRACIST campaign, in the Bovee University Center on March 30. 

Speakers from the Leadership Institute discussed a variety of different topics relating to anti-racism in the office.

Director Dan Gaken explained four goals the office set for Central Michigan University student leaders including leadership knowledge and application, identity development, healthy relationships and social responsibility.

“We take a discerning look at systems of power, privilege and oppression and feel a sense of responsibility to act, to change those in a disadvantaged group,” Gaken said.

Alejandro Saláis, a graduate assistant in the Leadership Institute, talked about improvements he has seen on campus since the campaign started last spring.

“As office staff, if we can see the difference that we’re doing but students can’t see, then we’re missing the mark," he said. "So I think for me making the transition from being a student to an office member, I have been able to see the difference…I’ve been trying to make the changes that I wish I did towards the end of being a student.”

The workshop included breakout groups to discuss questions about leadership and inclusivity. 

Students discussed a variety of issues such as the difference between equality and equity, the Flint community, helping others and improving teamwork skills.

Gaken acknowledged changes made in the Leadership Institute like updating the scholarship scoring system to be more inclusive. Nonetheless, he said there is more work to be done on campus. 

“Everything we try, doesn’t always work,” he said.

Leadership Institute assistant director Jennifer Drevon  said conversations with many different perspectives is necessary for growth on campus.

“We have limited perspectives when we don’t open up these conversations to people outside of our spaces. We can stand here and think we’re doing great work. We’re trying new things…and some things are working and some things aren’t working. But people in that audience might have the solution. And if we don’t hold events like this, we will continue these conversations. We’re not getting this perspective and we’re not able to incorporate that into what we need to do for all students as CMU.”

Upcoming events

Two final events will be held in April as a part of the I AM ANTIRACIST campaign.

Wednesday, April 13

Faculty/Staff Panel

3 p.m.

Park Library Auditorium

Tuesday, April 26

Office of Diversity Education

4 p.m.

Bovee University Center Auditorium