DEI Summit Stentor Interview

How does this year's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit differ from last year's event? 

This year, instead of one long day of programming, we are having several shorter events over a two-week stretch from March 31 to April 14.  Furthermore, this year we are sorting people into small-group cohorts based on their particular interests within the broader topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College.

What are the goals for this year’s event? 

We hope that the small-group cohort model will allow participants to meet some new people at the College, to dig into subjects that they care about together, and to emerge with concrete commitments to how they will change their behavior as they work at or attend the College.  We are hoping that it will be a starting point for real, day-to-day change that will make the College more inclusive for everyone who is part of the community.

Can you explain how Dr. Kendi's visit fits into the College's broader programming on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? 

Dr. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist has been the guiding text for much of our programming this year.  The Office of Faculty Development did a series of programming in the fall entitled “How to Be an Anti-Racist…in Your Syllabus,” which encouraged faculty to consider adopting more equitable teaching practices.  The Office of Intercultural Relations, meanwhile, has curated a set of videos in which students, faculty, and staff discuss chapters from Dr. Kendi’s book: the Choose Anti-Racism series.  The book also provided the discussion topics for a number of our Brown Bag Lunch events this year.  All this to say: having the conversation between Dr. Kendi and Professor RL Watson as our inaugural event is a wonderful culmination of all the work of this year!

Why should students attend the event with Dr. Kendi and participate in the other programming? 

A lot of what happens at the College that determines whether the student experience is inclusive and equitable happens out of the sight of faculty and staff—in the dorms, in social settings, in student groups.  We hope that students want to work with their peers to make those spaces welcoming to all.  Furthermore, faculty and staff need to hear student feedback about what we can do to make classrooms and other parts of campus more inclusive.  Having student voices in the conversations at the Summit is essential, therefore—both so that students can listen to their peers, and so that faculty and staff can hear student views.