Ten separate incidents of racial and religious slurs plagued the UR campus last year. In response, the College Diversity Roundtable submitted a list of 20 recommendations on addressing these acts to the Deans’ Office of The College in March.

The most publicized incident took place on Feb. 16, when the words “Die fucking nigger” along with a swastika and the letters KKK were found on chalkboards in Morey 402.

According to Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin, the incident took place sometime between 5 p.m. Feb 15 and noon Feb. 16.

“The classroom is a place of ideas, where they can be debated and challenged,” he said. “This was a cowardly way to display an idea, and was meant to offend and outrage.”

Another of the incidents occurred around Feb. 23, when a banner signed by members of the community stating that “we are all gay allies” was stolen from Wilson Commons, less than three days after it was hung.

Co-Director of the Pride Network and junior Dan Lioy was upset by the theft of the banner. “It’s frustrating because our main lines of communication are continuously cut down.”

Response

The roundtable feels that if its suggestions are implemented, they are a way to provide concrete and enforceable solutions to intolerance on campus.

The recommendations include suggestions for improving policies and procedures, promoting educational programming and implementing training for faculty, students and staff.

“These recommendations have been a collaborative process,” Director of Minority Student Affairs Norman Burnett said. “We tried to gather feedback from students as to the recommendations that would improve the campus climate.”

The list of recommendations is only the first step in “changing our campus into a community of learners that is truly welcoming, safe and conducive to the success of all persons,” according to the document submitted to the Deans’ Office.

Many of the suggestions Continued from Page 1

center on improving communication in the campus community. “Problems with communication affect all aspects of campus life, and something as basic and procedural as communication shouldn’t cause such problems,” senior and former SA President John LaBoda said.

A clear statement of the College’s mission and values as they relate to diversity is one of the recommendations. The Roundtable also requested clearer process for reporting acts of intolerance and for notifying the campus.

With regard to programming, the Roundtable recommends that the College make their policy on diversity and acts of intolerance clear at orientation programs and that they discuss this policy with student groups. The recommendations also call for a higher priority to be placed on diversity issues in Residential Life programming.

As part of the Roundtable’s recommendation that there be more open dialogue among students, a committee of peer facilitators has been formed. The committee is composed of students from various campus groups and backgrounds who will organize discussions on hate and intolerance among UR students. “Community dialogues were not started to solve the problem, but to start discussions about broad issues,” said Minority Student Affairs Counselor and Diversity Roundtable member Gladys Pedraza-Burgos.

Pedraza-Burgos hopes that drawing on students from different backgrounds will allow the groups to eventually begin centering their dialogues around a specific theme such as homophobia or racism.

The idea behind the student-led discussions is to allow an open dialogue about the basic emotions surrounding hate and to share values and beliefs. “I hope this will get people talking about issues of diversity,” said sophomore facilitator Lucas McCarthy. “It’s important for people to know how others feel.”

Built into the roundtable’s Recommendations is a plan for following through. They have requested regular verbal and written reports on The College’s efforts and progress in implementing the suggestions and have set deadlines for some of the recommendations to be turned to action.

“Building deadlines into the recommendations is a way to remind ourselves to examine what we have accomplished, encourages the use of timeliness, and basically helps to ensure that the work gets done and reported,” Olivares said.

The Roundtable hopes their recommendations will be the start of a more open and tolerant campus.

Dean of The College William Green is pleased with the recommendations and said that progress is being made on implementing them. “With the production of these recommendations, Diversity Roundtable comes into its own,” he said. “This is what it was created to do.”

Schnee and Taylor can be reached at news@campustimes.org.



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