Administration to host information meetings about GC campus climate

JENAE LONGENECKER

Arts Editor

jenael@goshen.edu

The Goshen College administration has invited the campus community to gather this week for a series of informational sessions regarding issues of campus climate and administrative responses to such issues.

Gilberto Perez, director of the GC Center for International and Intercultural Education said, “We are committed to working with members of the campus community to develop solutions to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion and improve the campus climate.”

This week’s informational sessions will serve to continue a dialogue which started late last November, when the the GC Intercultural Dialogue Task Force and the Intercultural Committee hosted a convocation focused on race, racism and inclusion on campus. The convocation was called a “3D” discussion, referencing an acronym for “Difficulty Discussions across Difference.”

Perez said, “We are committed to holding 3D Conversations with the campus community— students, faculty and staff—both to hear concerns as well as to develop solutions.”

At the November convocation, students, faculty and staff talked in small groups then reported back to the larger group regarding challenges facing the GC campus on issues of race and inclusion.

According to Richard Aguirre, director of corporate and foundation relations, some of the issues that surfaces were a hurtful, unwelcoming, or dismissive campus climate; lack of diversity among administrators, faculty and staff; lack of communication and transparency; and an incident last fall regarding a GC security guard.

This week, Perez, Aguirre and others invite the campus community to gather and discuss the ways that the administration has responded to information received at the November convocation.

Perez and Ken Newbold, provost, along with members of the Intercultural Committee will facilitate these conversations.

Facilitators will provide a summary of the results of the convocation conversation and lead further discussion about the issues raised there in order to clarify the highest priority issues.

Recent steps the administration has taken to address diversity and inclusion on campus include a new 9-point hiring plan intended to increase diversity on campus and the display of an informational poster about racial misconduct across campus.

At these informational sessions, students and staff will be asked to discuss and brainstorm additional possible solutions to address the issues raised. There will also be a time for questions.

The first information session in this series took place last evening, March 2.

The next conversations in this series will take place on Monday, March 7 from 10- 11a.m. in the CIIE Conference Room (UN 111) and on Tuesday, March 8, from 7-8 p.m. in the AD building basement lounge. Students, faculty and staff are all invited to attend.

Following the informational meetings, the 3D conversations will continue.According to Perez, “CIIE has hired several student assistants to assist with facilitating upcoming 3D Conversations.” The 3D conversations will be held in various locations across campus.

Aguirre said, “From the information gathered, the Intercultural Committee will work during the 2016-2017 academic year—with the campus community—to develop initiatives, programs and strategies to address the concerns raised.”

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