FLASHBACK Lawrence Die-In is “the first step” in campus movement via The Lawrentian

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” echoed off the walls of Warch Campus Center last Tuesday night, when approximately 50 students dressed completely in black marched from Sankofa house chanting, in a demonstration organized by the Black Student Union to raise awareness on the unjust killings of Black Americans.

The demonstration, which took place over the course of about 30 minutes, started at 6:45. After arriving at the Campus Center, students involved marched down the stairs to the entrance of Andrew Commons, and, stopping their chant, abruptly fell to the ground and remained there motionless for four minutes and thirty seconds.

This type of demonstration, known as a Die-In, has been recently used in larger protests, such as Ferguson, Mo., to raise awareness for the Black Americans killed by Police Officers. The Lawrence event, which was planned in secret from those not involved, was organized primarily by Brienne Colston, Chair on the Committee of Diversity Affairs, and Romare Antrobus, president of BSU.

“It’s been on our minds for a while. After all the events that surfaced over break, the non-indictments, we knew we had to do something, but we didn’t quite know what that something was, for a while, and we didn’t know how impactful our something would be on this campus.” Colston explained. “We’d been planning it maybe for two weeks, maybe a week and a half. Not very long. It was supposed to be a spontaneous thing. It was really supposed to impact the campus as quickly as possible,” added Antrobus.

Colston described similar events she had participated in over winter break, at a larger scale. “I did a Die-In at Gracie mansion, organized by the New York justice league, which is a social justice organization which… unites activists across the country to do good work. The die-in we did at Lawrence was a contained, college die-in, but that one was one the streets of New York,” Colston said.

“I knew that that couldn’t be replicated, but I also knew that the feeling that I had down there, and then solidarity that created between the members of the justice league, was something that we all wanted to feel at Lawrence, as Black Student Union.”

After the four and a half minutes were up, participants stood up in unison and resumed their “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant. Students who had been waiting at the doors to leave the commons or at the top of the stairs had mixed responses, according to Colston. “There was a lot of laughter, which was disheartening… But there was also a lot of silence, and a lot of people seemed contemplative.”

Regardless of the varied reactions, Antrobus felt positive about the outcome of the die-in.

“As a first step to raise awareness on these topics, it was definitely successful,” Colston agreed. “If you wait for an entire institution to be ready [for this type of activism], you’ve already left. What’s the point in that? I think this was a great first step, but what campus needs to realize is that this was exactly that: a first step. And the negative backlash is not stopping anyone. It’s making us refuel for future events.”

Colston concluded by clarifying the intent of the demonstration. “The die-in was really targeting anti-blackness in America, and specifically those bodies we’ve seen killed in history, as well as over break, that we don’t talk about a lot. Everyone who was united in solidarity to do the die-in knew that this was for anti-blackness and wanted to be advocates for change and new anti-oppressive tactics.”

FLASHBACK Diversity campaign strives to move beyond tolerance via The Lawrentian

Maggie Brickner
Last year, the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs started a new campus-wide campaign entitled “Respect the Other: Moving Beyond Tolerance” to promote acceptance of diversity on campus.

As the name indicates, the new campaign focuses on the idea that simply tolerating diversity is not enough to create harmony and understanding on campus. According to junior Timeka Toussaint, chair of the Committee on Diversity Affairs, this is an important step because “with tolerance, you don’t always learn to respect.”

The Respect the Other campaign was started last year after the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs went over the campus climate survey and noted that there seemed to be a need for greater diversity awareness on campus.

This year, the responsibility of the campaign was passed on to CODA, the Committee on Diversity Affairs, an LUCC subcommittee composed of student leaders of different on-campus diversity groups, faculty and staff advisors, the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs and other on-campus leaders.

Toussaint noted that the campaign is challenging students to explore different groups on campus with the hope that, by “going to one group outside your comfort zone,” students will be more aware that other on-campus groups support one another.

Although CODA is responsible for the overall campaign, a number of other diversity groups on campus are also contributing to the Respect the Other campaign.

Since the campaign has started, it has been pulling in a variety of diversity groups, including GLOW and VIVA. Both groups have events planned for the rest of Spring Term, which will be put together under the umbrella of “Respect the Other.”

In the last year, huge steps have been made on campus to promote the campaign. Although most of the campus events are awareness events, a visit from leadership trainer Paul Wesselmann last term was specifically tailored for Lawrence. Wesselmann visited in March to talk with RLAs, RHDs and other campus staff and students. He returned again at the beginning of this term for a follow-up visit.

A mask-making event, sponsored in part by the Lifeline suicide prevention grant, was also a part of the campaign.

Looking toward the end of the year, CODA has planned a variety of other events. In addition to t-shirts and stickers, Ormsby Residence Hall Director and Diversity Center Programs Coordinator Rose Wasielewski has been collecting quotations about diversity from students that will be posted around campus.

Looking forward to other events this spring, Paul Rusesabagina, upon whose life the movie “Hotel Rwanda” is based, will be visiting campus April 25.

FLASHBACK Diversity Center to host 13th annual MLK Day festivities via The Lawrentian

April West
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day when, according to multicultural affairs dean Rod Bradley, the Lawrence community “takes time away from their schedule to appreciate all that Martin Luther King Jr. has done and stands for.” The Diversity Center, in league with Toward Community: Unity in Diversity, will be hosting their 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in the Memorial Chapel Monday at 6:30 p.m. Bradley continues, “The celebration highlights the importance of awareness, commitment and diversity as we strive to help improve human rights and civic engagement.” The festivities will be free and open to the public. The theme of the program will be “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” The program is scheduled to last one hour.
The program will include keynote speaker Eugene Kane, a seven-year veteran journalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with an award-winning thrice weekly column. Kane, a Philadelphia native, is a graduate of Temple University and a former John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. He has received the National Headliner Award, the Sigma Delta Chi award, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award.
In addition, a performance is to be given by singer and recording artist Ken Daniel, Lawrence class of ’91. He has performed in a number of local venues and has toured nationally.
Toward Community will be awarding the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Unity in Diversity Award to someone from the Appleton area who has proven their commitment and awareness to diversity.
In November, K-12 students entered essays about subjects relating to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. The winning essay will be read aloud and an award will be given to the author. The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known by some as the “black national anthem,” will be sung.
The celebration will end with closing words and a public reception.
“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday about giving service back to the community,” adds Bradley. On Sunday the Diversity Center will provide ways in which Lawrentians can do this. Interested students should contact the Volunteer Center at x6644 to find ways in which they can help throughout the year. Various volunteer opportunities include Salvation Army; Pioneer Village, a retirement living community; and the Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley.

Changes in the Diversity Center via The Lawrentian

Nicole Capozziello
Since the beginning of the school year, the Diversity Center has been the site of a lot of changes, not the least of which have been a few sharp new paint jobs.
Mohammed Bey, the Acting Assistant Dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs, has been the driving force behind many of these changes. A Lawrence admissions counselor from 2006 to 2008, Bey moved the block-and-a-half to the blue house on Meade Street, near Downer and the quad, before the start of the 2008 fall term.
One noticeable change has been the transition of MCAC, the Multicultural Affairs Committee, to CODA, which stands for the Committee on Diversity Affairs.
This change was initiated by LUCC president James Duncan-Welke in response to the homophobic acts across campus during fall term. Duncan-Welke realized that, while J-Board acts as a sanctioning body, LUCC did not have an outlet that was adequately supporting and promoting Lawrence’s diverse student population.
By its description, the former Multicultural Affairs Committee dealt specifically with just that – multicultural diversity, a definition that both Duncan-Welke and Bey believed was not being fully understood.
This is where things become a bit linguistic. Bey states that “to be multicultural is everything but not to everybody.”
The new legislation, passed by LUCC in the fall, promotes understanding and awareness of not only multicultural diversity, but also diversity of gender, sexuality, and religion.
Bey believes that the new name is more encompassing and adequately reflects the openness of the committee and the Diversity Center itself, which is intended to be a way to connect student diversity-oriented student organizations.
While the Diversity Center is already utilized as a meeting place by several campus organizations and even a music class, Bey hopes that the student body will further employ its resources.
In addition to a resource room brimming with craft supplies, students also have access to an extensive book collection.
The center’s student staff have been working to catalog the house’s films and books – covering the walls of rooms throughout the house – and to establish a formal check-out system for students.
In his own time, Bey has been updating the Diversity Center portion of the Lawrence Web site and adding helpful links for diversity organizations across the spectrum.
Going beyond the call of duty, Bey has also been gradually giving the house a facelift. The formerly blank walls have been adorned with paintings, while Bey is slowly working on painting the rooms. After the improvements, the Diversity Center will be holding a campus-wide open house, which will include information sessions.
In the meantime, the Diversity Center and CODA have been collaborating with campus organizations, academic departments, and community organizations such as Harmony Café, with whom the Diversity Center will be hosting a hip-hop night in the coming months.
During Black History Month, CODA, along with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will be bringing in two speakers to present on and discuss race issues.For more information on recent changes to the Diversity Center, drop by the house or check out: http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/student_dean/diversity_center/

Diversity Center Cultural Dinners via The Lawrentian

The Diversity Center is a space for students to explore their cultural heritages and identities.
Photo by Luke Payne

Over the past few months, Program Coordinator of the Diversity Center Corey Torres and his team have introduced a new initiative as a means of raising awareness about campus issues, such as, but not limited to, identity development, diversity and socioeconomic background. To achieve this endeavor, the Diversity Center invites students from various groups and organizations on campus to participate in “Cultural Dinners,” where they dine while also engaging in fruitful discussion about the previously-mentioned areas. Incredibly engaging, highly informative and inviting—the diversity dinners have facilitated a profound platform for civil discussion amongst students of different backgrounds. More information and relevant interviews will be published in next week’s issue of The Lawrentian.

Greek Week provides fun for whole campus via The Lawrentian

Greek Week is an event in which all Greek organizations on Lawrence University’s campus engage in activities together to foster a stronger Panhellenic community and to raise awareness for the charities that the individual organizations support. Sophomore and President of the Lawrence University Panhellenic Council Rachel Taber said, “When planning Greek Week each year, the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) try to create a setting in which the fraternities, sororities and all students can interact and raise money for some amazing charities.”

Looking back on the week, Taber expressed her pleasure, saying, “This year we had a really high turnout at some of the events, and got the honor societies involved, which have Greek letters associated with them.” Taber also expressed her excitement that the event is growing, with both organizations and with turnout from students not affiliated with Greek life.

The week began with the All-Greek Lip Sync, in which eight different groups participated, and some alumni attended. Delta Gamma won this event, while Kappa Kappa Gamma and Beta Psi Nu came in second and third place, respectively. All teams had their own theme which their songs revolved around. Taber said this event is one of her favorites “because seventh week can be such a stressful week for so many people, it’s really great to start off the week in the silliest way possible”

On Tuesday, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s event “Too Hot to Handle” was housed in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center, featuring a hot wing eating contest to raise money for Harbor House. Beta Psi Nu was the winner and second place was awarded to Beta Theta Pi. Mortar Board’s “Spelling Bee” competition also took place on Tuesday in the Viking Room (VR) and was addressed to participants over the age of 21. This event was emceed by Dean of Students Curt Lauderdale.

Freshman Paul Hong competes for Beta Theta Pi in “Too Hot to Handle,” hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma. Photo by Hitkarsh Chanana
Freshman Paul Hong competes for Beta Theta Pi in “Too Hot to Handle,” hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Photo by Hitkarsh Chanana

Wednesday was Sigma Phi Epsilon’s event, “Ballin’ on Boldt,” a basketball competition. Delta Tau Delta won this event. Also on Wednesday was Delta Gamma’s event, “Anchor Splash.” The event supported Service for Sight, a philanthropy which helps those who are, or have become, visually impaired.

“Anchor Splash” is divided into relay races and synchronized swimming routines. The relay races involved tasks for the team members— swimming a lap with a ping-pong ball on a spoon that the participants have to carry in their mouth, swimming a lap with a t-shirt on and then pass the shirt to the next team member, among other tasks.

The synchronized swimming events were judged on a 10-point scale. Kappa Kappa Gamma was awarded first place, while second place went to Kappa Alpha Theta and third place to Sigma Phi Epsilon. In preparation for this event there was also a photo challenge in which students who saw members of Delta Gamma throughout the day were encouraged to take photos with them to score extra points for their respective teams.

Thursday was Kappa Alpha Theta’s event “Kicks for CASA,” a kickball event for the philanthropy CASA, which provides court-appointed advocates to children in the foster care system. Delta Tau Delta won the Golden Kickball, with second place awarded to Beta Theta Pi.

Friday’s events were organized by Phi Kappa Tau and Beta Psi Nu. In the first event, “Phi Tau Freeze Out,” members of the fraternity served ice cream and frozen treats to attendees. All proceeds went to their philanthropy, Serious Fun Children’s Network, an organization that seeks to make terminally ill children’s camp experiences more enjoyable. “Beta Stroll Bounce” was Beta Psi Nu’s event.

The “All-Greek Movie Night” took place later that evening. The movie “Finding Nemo” was selected as a means of providing stress relief from the studying and overall anxiety of seventh week and facilitating a more relaxed setting for students to interact with all members of the Greek community.

On Saturday, Beta Theta Pi hosted their event, “Pancake Breakfast,” in their house’s basement. The money raised was donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. Later that day, Delta Tau Delta hosted “Delt Carnival,” where they featured a bouncy castle and held a fundraiser for their philanthropy. Sigma Alpha Iota and Sinfonia’s event, “Music Trivia,” held on Sunday, featured different teams working together to answer trivia questions on a variety of music genres.

Junior and Vice President of External Recruitment of the Lawrence University Panhellenic Council Rachel Gregory said, “It was so encouraging to see the other teams cheering for each other. Despite the competitive games, this week really does foster a sense of community within Panhel, and not just within Panhel, but also for all groups on campus to participate.”

Schuyler Thornton ’14, who was visiting campus during the week, said, “It was enjoyable to see how Greek life has grown to be more inclusive to other organizations—Lambda Sigma and Mortar Board are now included, and is making Greek life more accessible.” She also added that “Greek Week is important because it gives an opportunity for members of Greek organizations to interact with members outside of their own groups and other members of the campus to get to know Greek life better and perhaps put it in a better light.”

 

FLASHBACK News! Sankofa-CODA conversation focuses on respectability politics via The Lawrentian

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Sankofa House held an open conversation that revolved around respectability politics. A PowerPoint slide neatly summarized the gist of the topic: do not be angry, do not show emotions, get a degree and look put together. The hosts, sophomore Sabrina Conteh and junior Guilberry Louissaint, aimed to highlight the problems with this kind of uniformity and subtle racism.

“Sankofa conversations discuss a variety of issues that are relevant to the world, especially since social justice is a hot topic these days,” began Conteh. “Make sure you put in there that I rolled my eyes,” she added.

Conteh continued to describe the relevance of respectability politics on campus, using protesting as an example.

“Silencing is very popular in a world where people can’t be outwardly racist so they express their racism in subtle ways and basically, that’s what respectability politics is,” continued Conteh.

During the talk, Conteh and Louissaint played Jidenna Mobisson’s “Classic Man” music video, which ignited a variety of responses among participants.

“[The video] shows that black men have no chance to be seen as innocent,” said freshman Morgan Shapiro.

The event itself had a large turnout, which did not surprise either Conteh or Louissaint.

“A lot of people come to Sankofa conversations because [that] is where you go to find the language. Now [that students] have the language to articulate what they mean, they are able to be very conscious of how they come across when it comes to responses of resistance and challenging oppressive ideologies,” said Louissaint.

With this, an obvious burden falls on Sankofa House as well as Lawrence University Community Council’s Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA),  the two sponsors of the conversations.

“Providing spaces for discussions is part of CODA’s goal. So Sankofa conversations are a lot about education,” said Conteh.

“I mean someone has to do it. I think a lot of this campus has some f—-d up ideologies,” said Louissaint. “I think that yes, it is a taxing job, but someone has to do it. Otherwise, people won’t feel safe on campus since language can also make people feel unsafe. So it is important to give [students] the words to actually speak back to their oppressors,” Louissant said.

Both hosts agree that a common way respectability politics is manifested on campus is through tone policing.

“Tone policing is just another way of recreating oppression and we don’t have time for that,” concluded Louissaint.

Generally, the goal of Sankofa conversations is to keep people thinking.

“Often, people leave with a lot of questions. And hopefully, they find answers, but the fact that they are asking those questions means that we have made some progress,” concluded Conteh.

The Civic Life Project challenges students’ perceptions of society via The Lawrentian

Last Wednesday, May 3, the fourth annual celebration of the Civic Life Project brought thought-provoking documentaries to the Lawrence community. The event, which ran from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Somerset Room of the Warch Campus Center, showcased four student-directed documentaries and allowed community members to share their thoughts on the issues portrayed.

The Civic Life Project is a nationwide effort to engage students in community issues through documentary filmmaking. Over the course of the past year, four teams of students were given ten weeks each to research, write and direct a film on a community issue that interested them. Artist-in-Residence in the Film Studies department and organizer of the project at Lawrence Catherine Tatge asserted, “We want to engage community members in thoughtful dialogue about how we can help each other help one another. We’re all an important part of the dialogue.”

To begin the evening, Tatge welcomed guests, noting that “it’s really amazing to see everyone here, and the support we get from this community.” Students, faculty, staff and others claimed their seats at the round banquet tables. The evening was structured as a guided viewing, with a student moderator at each table.

Attendees watched each of the new Civic Life Project films in turn, and after the viewing the student moderators led 10-minute discussions on the issues presented. Lawrence University President Mark Burstein introduced the event with a short speech, and the showcase began.

Junior and film major Hugo Espinosa introduced the first film shown, “Brown Water.” Espinosa, who produced the film alongside seniors Jamie DeMotts and Taylor Dodson, described it as “a brief investigation into the issue of groundwater pollution affecting our neighbors just outside of Appleton.” A thoughtful documentary which explored the connections between groundwater pollution and dairy farming, “Brown Water” presented the issue at hand from various perspectives.

After the showing, the audience erupted into a lively discussion on groundwater issues. While most audience members agreed that public health and environmentalism are important issues, they shared different perspectives on how to fix the problems presented.

The second film, “A Generation On Change,” told the story of a transgender youth in the Fox Valley. Junior Chris Gore-Gammon introduced the film, which he and Htee T. Moo ‘15 created. “This was something that we both felt privileged to do,” Gore-Gammon said, “not only because we are part of the transgender community, but also because we did not come from backgrounds like that shown in the film.”

Rowan Saecker, the subject of the documentary, shared her story of coming out as a trans girl in Appleton. Although her parents were supportive, Saecker still faced issues of discrimination and stigmatization. “The biggest message of our film is the importance of respect,” noted Gore-Gammon.

Next, Senior Rose Nelson introduced the film she made with sophomore Sara Morrison, “Confinement,” or “Mental Health in the Prison System,” an introspective investigation into the relationship between mental illness and incarceration. The film discussed how mental illness can cause criminal behavior, and how the criminal justice system often lacks appropriate tools to care for the sick. A lively discussion followed the film, as many audience members shared their own experiences with mental illness and the problems it can cause.

Finally, presenters showcased the newest film of the group, “Breaking the Silence.” Directed by seniors Daniel Card, Matt Geleske and Joe Pegorsch, the film dealt with the impact of racism in the Appleton area, and how racial injustice can affect community members of all types. In the documentary, many Lawrence students shared traumatic stories of racism within the city. The film raised questions on how to deal with prejudice in our community and motivated attendees to act against injustice.

During the showcase, Tatge emphasized the importance of self-expression and education in becoming engaged members of society. “We’re all so energized by the current elections, and I think we can all agree that democracy matters,” she noted. “But democracy rests on the shoulders of our children who will inherit our world. The Civic Life Project gives students a voice, a way to explore issues in our community and [a way to] express how they feel about that.”

“Black Girls Talk Back”: Resisting racial marginalization online via The Lawrentian

Last Thursday, April 28, Ming Trammel, Ph.D., took the stage in Youngchild Hall Room 121 to shed light on how teens of African-American descent take to social networking in an effort to combat being left out of the social dialogue.

Trammel, a pronounced gender studies researcher, spoke about the various facets of social life of millennial youth that have been transformed by the presence of digital networking, and further explained how the experiences of some social groups have been “conveniently ignored” by the scholarly literature.

In particular, she discussed experiences pertaining to young African-American women, their Facebook profiles and their blogs.

According to multiple studies conducted by Trammel, a vast majority—roughly 70 percent—of young African-American women took to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and various blogging portals, both large and small, in an effort to voice their opinions. No organized study focusing specifically on these women’s experiences in fighting racism and marginalization through those mediums had been conducted before.

Trammel also spoke in-depth about how the dialogue regarding issues of race, when implemented into any other field of research or study, is perceived as taboo and rendered “unapproachable” in many respects.

Regarding the experiences she had during the study, Trammel shared, “I began to think about the tensions that would frequently arise, especially when the conversation was about issues relating to black females.”

“I do a lot of work on gender and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math],” she continued, “and any time I would be in a room talking about issues relating to gender and STEM, someone would bring up issues related to women of color, and you could just feel the tension grow in the room.”

Trammel also went on to detail the ways in which young African-American females confronted issues of race on social media, and how their reactions were largely reliant on the type of crowd that was being addressed.

All in all, Trammel’s speech highlighted the complexity of social media’s role and its effect on teens of different skin colors and genders.

“She provided us with stats that she gathered during research,” remarked freshman and psychology major Saahil Cuccria, “but I failed to understand what the goal of the research was.”
“What question did they need an answer to, or what hypothesis were they trying to prove?,” Cuccria continued. “Was it on how ‘girls talk back?’ She [Trammel] mostly gave examples of comments and some posts that expressed the girls’ opinions on issues, events and incidents, but those posts could either be blog posts or statuses; that distinction was unclear to me.”

“Regardless of [the] lack of connection that I felt,” Cuccria concluded, “I walked away with some information about how black teens use social media, and some interesting stories of successful activism.”

Earth Day lecture addresses inclusivity needs of student organizations via The Lawrentian

On Earth Day, several clubs came together to sponsor a lecture and micro-workshop by A. “Breeze” Harper, Ph.D., entitled “Uprooting White Fragility: Intersectional Anti-Racism within the Ethical Foodscape.” This came in response to recent racial tensions on campus that caused several predominantly white clubs, namely Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens (SLUG) and Greenfire, to consider how they could promote inclusivity.

Harper, the social scientist and author behind the anthology and blog Sistah Vegan Project, identifies herself as a critical race feminist concerned primarily with the ethical foodscape. By ethical foodscape, Harper means the cultural and physical spaces in which people interact with and discuss food. Harper’s lecture emphasized how privileged social positions may have a negative impact on how society envisions what it means to promote food justice in these spaces.

Harper also focused on how white fragility plays a role in maintaining this status quo by framing discussions of racial oppression around white people’s feelings about anti-racist confrontation. “A lot of people display white fragility because they think they’re being accused of being bad white people,” said Harper, “when in fact, we’re saying this is probably unintentional.”

However, Harper frequently stressed that despite good intentions, “If you are raised in a system with multiple levels of oppression and you uphold privileged social locations, the impact of your ignorance will be negative by default.”

As a cis-gendered woman, Harper admits she has framed her own work in a cis-sexist way. When gathering the stories of black vegan women when editing her anthology, “Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health and Society—Black Female Vegans Speak,” Harper unintentionally excluded black trans women from the project.

“I’m not critiquing individuals […] I’m not saying anyone is bad,” said Harper, “I’m trying to get you to think about how being socialized a certain way […] affects what you think is objective or is universal ethics.”

Harper “incorporates feminism and racial inequality into critiques of mainstream veganism,” explained senior and president of Greenfire Liz Landes. “Tying them all together puts emphasis on each in a way you wouldn’t have thought,” she said.

After the lecture was an hour-long workshop in which there were small and large group discussions and exercises. Throughout the workshop, Harper pushed participants to think of how their social locations affect their own perception and framing of food ethics.

Harper’s Earth Day lecture reflects efforts of Greenfire and SLUG to consider the role diversity plays in student organizations. “Since the racial tension on campus this fall, we started thinking a lot about SLUG as a white space, a non-inclusive space,” explained senior and garden manager of SLUG Abigail Hindson.

Landes agreed that Greenfire is also a predominately white club. “We are not sure how to expand our goals of sustainable living to other people or how to have a more diverse group,” she explains.

The idea of bringin Harper to Lawrence was sparked during SLUG’s annual trip to Björklunden this past Winter Term. “We ended up having a three-hour discussion about SLUG as a historically white space, why that could be, and how we can be more inclusive,” explained Hindson. “We decided that this was a first step we could take to keep the conversation going.”

The event was only made possible with the support of multiple clubs and student organizations, including Greenfire, Downer Feminist Council (DFC), Sankofa and the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA), each of which helped to fund Harper’s lecture.

According to Landes, Harper’s lecture did indeed help further the conversation. “I think it was very striking,” she noted, “I think people were left with a lot to think about.”

LEDS sheds light on intersectionality via The Lawrentian

On Sunday, April 24, Lawrence Enhancing Diversity in Science (LEDS) held a summit discussion focusing on intersectionality. The event took place in the Esch Hurvis Room of the Warch Campus Center from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

LEDS is a group formed by students and faculty in the natural sciences. Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor of Biology Beth De Stasio, a founding member of LEDS, said, “We want faculty and students to learn about and explore together the issues facing marginalized groups, particularly in the sciences.” Junior and LEDS member Deepankar Tripurana said, “We also want to make people realize that these [topics] are not just […] accessory concepts […] They are actual and real issues that afflict the sciences that serve the same amount of seriousness as, say, a disease or public health initiative.”

He went on to say, “We hope LEDS helps other similar organizations to sprout and take charge in reforming their respective departments and student body in mindsight.” The summit on intersectionality was the third summit that LEDS has hosted this year. Previously, the group had hosted summits on diversity in the sciences and allyship. The group chose the topic of intersectionality based on feedback from the previous summits.

LEDS worked with Lawrence Women in Science (LUWIS) and the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) to organize the summit. De Stasio remarked, “LUWIS members had great ideas and stories to share and CODA provided facilitators for the event.”

Before the event, attendees sat down at several round tables set up in the room. A table held an assortment of information on LEDS and LEDS stickers. Around the room, posters with notes from previous LEDS summits were displayed. A board near the entrance was set up for event coordinators to write notes from the event. Attendees included students and faculty from various departments on campus.

Intersectionality, as defined by sheets at the event, is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”

At the beginning of the event, Tripurana read a short introduction on the definition and history of intersectionality. He explained that while people experience different forms of oppression due to differing identities, all forms are “valid” forms of oppression. He went on to explain that some individuals face multiple forms of oppression at once which puts them in a more disadvantaged position in society.

Next, facilitators wrote safe space guidelines on a board near the entrance of the room. Attendees worked through an icebreaker activity sheet about identity. Then each table began small group discussions on an article in The Washington Post titled “Why intersectionality can’t wait” by Kimberlé Crenshaw written on Sep. 24, 2015.

Crenshaw defined intersectionality as “an analytic sensibility, a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power.” Crenshaw gave examples of intersectionality such as “people of color within LGBTQ movements, trans women within feminist movements and people with disabilities fighting police abuse.” Crenshaw declared, “All face vulnerabilities that reflect the intersections of racism, sexism, class oppression, transphobia, able-ism and more.”

Next, each table read and discussed short stories. Students and faculty submitted the stories anonymously to LEDS before the event. Each table shared highlights of their discussion with the whole room. Discussion topics included family and work accommodations, mental health and work expectations, gender stereotypes in the workplace, diversity in science and addressing gender and diversity in academic advisor meetings.

Associate Professor of Physics Doug Martin said, “This summit compels me to continue reading and working to improve my actions in the classroom and outside the classroom here at Lawrence.” He went on to say, “Events like this help me plan the structure of my courses and the shape of my classroom, the literal shape this term, to be more inclusive. Events like this help me be more aware of the impact of my language and, I hope, help me better explain ideas in a way that students understand what I mean in the classroom and in individual meetings.”

Tripurana stated, “The issues we are finally addressing in the sciences are not isolated to only the sciences. Diversity, allyship and intersectionality are just as applicable to other departments on campus as they are in the sciences, like the social sciences and humanities.”

De Stasio hopes “that understanding will lead us all to reach out and support one another, that we become even more willing to engage with, and support, people who are different from ourselves in some way, and that we will better understand the negative impact stereotyping, gender norms, hidden assumptions, and stigmatizing can have on student learning and student health and well-being.”

Alumni group crowdfunding for new diversity center via The Lawrentian

A group of young alumni called the Viking Gift Committee (VGC) have recently decided to campaign to fund changes at Lawrence, specifically focused on inclusivity, anti-oppression and diversity issues. So far, the campaign has raised $1,500 in less than 48 hours. The VGC is headed by alumni Erin Watson ’08 and Gayatri Malhotra ’14, who are looking to support students of color and push for further education for non-minority students. The group formerly focused on raising money solely for the Lawrence Fund as part of their dedication to communicate the importance of donor participation and financial support from fellow young alumni. They currently have 35 volunteers, each of whom choose 10 to 15 of their classmates to contact throughout the year.

Their final goal is to raise $10,000, all of which would go to the Diversity Center. The staff will have access to these funds in order to enhance campus life through inclusivity. The Diversity Center provides a home for students; it is a unique, welcoming place that is open to all, is fun and builds community. It has 18 student workers and two full-time staff, despite the fact that the budget has decreased in the past six years.

With the VGC funds, the Diversity Center plans to make a new space that would be a true sanctuary for students—to take a nap, to eat food—and in general, a place where students could feel at home. Senior and current Chair of the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) Jaime Gonzalez said that “the most important part of the Diversity Center is to create an atmosphere where all students can see themselves in.” The Diversity Center also plans to have professional development for student workers, organize more educational programming on campus and meet the emergency needs of the student body.

“The idea of crowdfunding for the Diversity Center came from wanting to show students that young alumni care about their concerns regarding diversity, inclusion and safety on campus and want to help,” said Assistant Director of Annual Giving Kari Swanson. As the main coordinator, Watson echoed these statements by saying that the “VGC wanted to find a meaningful way to make a statement in support of current students, in response to recent events at Lawrence.”

Watson also said that they chose to raise money for the Diversity Center not only as a demonstration of solidarity with current students, but also “as a way of showing the administration that [they] pay attention to campus events, and that [they], too, value a more inclusive and diverse campus climate where all students feel safe and comfortable.”
In Watson’s recent letter to the editor published in The Lawrentian, she wrote that “it is our hope that our efforts are seen not only as a show of support for current students and their fight to make Lawrence a more inclusive, accepting campus, but also an indication of the kind of campus environment we value.”

Although young alumni are often not able to make large contributions to causes other than student loans and living expenses, Watson hopes these donations are seen for what they are—“a significant portion of [their] budgets, allocated toward a cause about which [they] still deeply care—ensuring that every student at Lawrence will be given the opportunity to enjoy their Lawrence experience, regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. Using crowdfunding as a method for this campaign has been an opportunity for small contributions to take a more meaningful position and show current students that this group of alumni is thinking of and valuing them.”

Staff Editorial: The privilege no one talks about: class via The Lawrentian

For all of Lawrence’s problems regarding social justice, one great thing about the university is all of the activists and student leaders who spread awareness and advocate for change.

Even though the campus is more aware than ever about various kinds of privilege and how they build inequality and unsafe environments for students, one massive form of privilege is often ignored: economic privilege.

Lawrence students come from all different kinds of economic backgrounds, but this is not always acknowledged. Many Lawrentians identify as “middle class,” but, frankly, many are not. Since Lawrence offers so much to students for no additional cost—like swiping in at the Commons or the Wellness Center—students are able to keep their economic situations private.

These differences manifest in a number of potentially harmful ways. For one, more financially-comfortable students might invite their friends to go to bars or restaurants on College Avenue without considering that while it is not an issue for them, it may be a hardship for those friends of a lower economic class.

Another area we can see this kind of privilege is in the way students talk about Appletonians or “townies.” While not explicitly or universally related to class, sometimes talk of “townies” is related to a perceived class difference between Lawrentians and community members.

The best way for our campus to become more inclusive when it comes to class is to be more aware of how we talk about our own and others’ money. Additionally, Sociology of Education, a course offered by the Education Studies department, discusses the effects social class has in education. With only three percent of the student body paying full tuition, it just is not safe to assume everyone is of the same class. Next time you invite friends downtown or ask your club members for money, make room for people’s differences. Your classmates will appreciate it.

“Diversity, Privilege and Leadership” via The Lawrentian

Eddie Moore, Jr. delivers his presentation in Stansbury Theatre. Photo by Hitkarsh Chanana

On Thursday, April 21, in the Stansbury Theatre Director and founder of The Privilege Institute and The National White Privilege Conference, Eddie Moore Jr. delivered a presentation on diversity, privilege, oppression and leadership. The presentation, titled “Diversity, Privilege and Leadership: Are We Making Any Progress?” was an “interactive, informational and challenging keynote that [examined] and [explored] issues of diversity, privilege, oppression and leadership across America,” and was open to all students, faculty and staff.

Moore received his Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Iowa. He then went on to pursue a career in academia and business, whilst always focusing on diversity and community service. His presentation was co-sponsored by the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) and the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs (PCDA) “as part of [their] shared mission to promote and enhance diversity and inclusion at Lawrence,” as Chair of PCDA and Associate Professor of English and Diversity Enhancement Faculty Director Karen Hoffman expressed in an email sent out to the student body.

When introducing Moore, Hoffman highlighted the fact that the speaker is a Cornell College graduate. “He earned his bachelor’s from Cornell College, a selective liberal arts college in Iowa. So, when it comes to liberal arts, he gets our intellectual environment, and our academic community,” said Hoffman characteristically. After providing the audience with a brief expositional overview of his presentation’s subject matter, Moore clearly stated that no audio or video recordings can be made of the event.

The first part of Moore’s presentation focused on discrimination as a product of the ideological environment that an individual is brought up in. He alluded to his own background as an individual who grew up in Florida in a community comprised mostly of African Americans. “It is hard work,” Moore would say when talking about the responsibilities of each and every individual in reshaping their mindset and readapting their worldview to best suit the current social landscape. As Moore expanded on this idea, it became apparent that diversity’s effect is of telescopic nature; it starts with the individual, who then introduces this new mindset to their family, their workspace and their social circles.

In the second part of his presentation, Moore drew a timeline, starting with the formation of the U.S. on one side of the spectrum and ending in the present condition of this nation. Then, in collaboration with numerous members of the audience, Moore identified the core ideologies on which the U.S.’s society was originally founded and then attempted to identify the dominant social concepts in today’s world. He then asked the audience whether or not any social progress could be observed in this timeline, and if so, how far has American society gotten. The conclusion of this short exercise was that, even though today’s society has deviated largely from several harmful concepts of the past, there is still much room for improvement in trying to abolish harmful ideologies that have managed to survive.

At the end of the presentation, when asked what her thoughts were on the various messages that Moore wanted to convey, freshman Samantha Sowell stated that, “I think the message [Moore] was trying to convey was that, yes as a nation we have become a little more diverse, but we definitely have more work to do if we are going to become a truly diverse society.” She then went on to praise Moore’s arguments as “excellent.” “I think that his presentation was amazing and more people should have been made aware of his being on campus if we are really trying to work towards inclusion,” she said as she explained her disappointment at the small turnout by Lawrentians at the event.

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