Diversity — in the classroom, in discussion and as a value of MU — was the central issue raised by the panel at the “Straight Talk about the Black Student Experience” on Tuesday afternoon in Brady Commons.
Clarence B. Wine Sr., coordinator of diversity programs, and Andre Thorn, assistant director of academic retention services, led the brown-bag lunch discussion as part of Black History Month. The questions and comments from the audience proved the event to be a success, Wine said.
“Whenever you get into a sensitive area, people don’t often express themselves because of others’ thoughts,” he said. “But the lines of communication were open, and we are continuing to strengthen them. It is important that we all embrace this notion of globalization.”
The discussion revolved around what diversity means and how to bring it into the classroom.
For panel member Kelli Hicks, president of the Black Business Students Association and vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, diversity starts with faculty.
“First, you have to diversify the staff,” Hicks said. “You can talk about it all you want, but if I don’t see it, I’m not going to believe it.”
Panel member Kemyell Rieves, a United Ambassadors Program assistant, said bringing more minority speakers to classes on campus would also promote diversity.
“Minorities are not adequately represented,” said Rieves. “We need more positive figures to be able to generate conversation on the matter.”
Godfried Addae, a senior business management major, said he thought the panel was a good representation of African-American students and covered important issues.
“They covered as much as time would allow,” Addae said, “but for a really good discussion on this, it would take three or four hours.”
Wine said education is key to broadening diversity on campus.
“If we are able to educate people, usually the right decision will be made regarding embracing diversity,” he said. “That’s why it is essential that we incorporate diversity issues, such as contributions of individuals of color, into our curriculum.”