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Student Leaders and Administration Examine Campus Climate

The Charger Bulletin

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University of New Haven administration held a discussion between them and student leaders on campus Monday, November 21 to discuss the issues that have been taking place concerning diversity and civil discourse.
President Steven Kaplan lead the discussion by addressing what actions have been done since the same meeting was held a year ago.
Recently, the university held a discussion with the international student population to talk about what the presidential election means for them. They also held a more focus group-type discussion with students to go over what needs to be done to convey the issues in a matter that will be meaningful to the campus community.
The university is also focusing on employing a more diverse faculty and staff, as they prepare to establish two African American studies positions within the College of Arts and Sciences along with a Race and Ethnicity position in the criminal justice department. These positions would correspond with potential courses on related subjects. The additions were inspired by the interest and concerns of the students.
“Clearly there is a lot of work that has to be done,” Kaplan said before calling upon the audience to speak on their concerns that they feel need to addressed on campus.
Vice President of Operations for the Graduate Student Council, Quinn Nelson, praised the need for an African American studies initiative after his experiences walking to his car at night with people honking their horn at him while women rush to the opposite side of the street – an occurrence that has happened on more than one occasion.
“They say in order to not replay history you need to learn from it,” Nelson said. “I feel like some people haven’t learned in the first place.”
Nelson is concerned about the ignorance that will continue to arise with the recent presidential election.
Teyana Whyte, a member of the Campus Coalition, proposed a more efficient way for students to be reached and be aware of the bias incident report form that is available to report issues that are taking place on campus that put students in uncomfortable situations.
Senior Tamara Torres brought up concerns on how the new Center for Diversity and Inclusion needs help to receive the resources necessary to run effectively and successfully.
USGA Sergeant-at-Arms Mackenzie Upshaw asked to hear opinions on how to make the international students feel more involved and welcomed on campus.
A graduate international student in attendance said that they only time that they have to engage with domestic students is during events or class and to run more events where the two cultures can collaborate to further educate on another.
Another student raised an idea to create a LLC opportunity for domestic and international students to live amongst themselves to, again, better educate themselves.
Kaplan says that they are there to facilitate the discussion, but the core starts with the students engaging and reaching out to one another.
Joyce Lai, USGA Executive Assistant, says that with the students who are involved with the English as a second language (ESL) feel isolated with the ESL labs being in Charger Plaza. She also addressed how it is imperative to open the outreach of programs like this to hold interpersonal student exchanges.
After the election aggression has been fostering on campus, both directly and indirectly, from Trump supporters. Es-pranza Humphrey calls on administration to help prevent and yield the derogatory activity that some students are experiencing.
Director of the Center for Inclusion and Diversity Juan Hernandez advertises the purpose for the center on how the center is an outlet for students to take advantage of and to help alleviate and combat many of the issues being discussed throughout the forum.
Whyte addresses that it is imperative that it is not only on her peers, but the faculty as well to educate themselves on the campus climate.
Alex Sullivan calls on the forum saying that everyone has a glass ball in their hand with their hopes and goals they want to achieve but is afraid of shattering the glass ball. Sullivan says what needs to be done by students is stop worrying solely on their peers of their own demographic and fight for all instead of only individuals.
“Ultimately the execution is on us,” Sullivan explains how students are the ones it comes down to making the change necessary on campus.
Torres says that she has to kindly disagree with Sullivan’s sermon because for four years she has been fighting for change to spark change and have a say of what is happening on her campus. She speaks of her experience at the Die-In how she was physically hurt because of the ignorance of fellow students when they were shining light on the violence that one demographic was experience, not alluding that only certain lives matter.
“We are not just fighting for blacks or whites – we are fighting for all,” Torres said.

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Student Leaders and Administration Examine Campus Climate