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Brockport joins SUNY system in advocating for inclusivity

by Kiara Alfonseca - EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Tue, Feb 21st 2017 11:00 pm
Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR
CREATING A STRONG COMMUNITY Amidst national tensions, the SUNY system continues to work hard at establishing themselves to be the most inclusive school system in the country.
Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR CREATING A STRONG COMMUNITY Amidst national tensions, the SUNY system continues to work hard at establishing themselves to be the most inclusive school system in the country.

 Diversity initiatives are abound, from here at The College at Brockport campus to the State University of New York system. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies have been placed across SUNY schools and even here at Brockport, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively producing seminars and events focused on promoting student involvement and development of these policies.

In response to national and local racial tensions present in the campus climate, administration is taking action to prevent and provide support for victims of prejudice or discrimination throughout the university system.

Carlos Medina, SUNY Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, was the first holder of that title - not just a first for  SUNY, but also one of the first at the institutional level nationwide. Since 2014, Medina has been working toward making the SUNY Board the most inclusive in the nation; to do that, SUNY has reformed issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as pushing for the necessity for diversity officers on each individual campus, according to the SUNY Diversity Policy of 2015.

The need for diversity officers on college campuses has become evident, particularly on those where the student or faculty population isn't so diverse. On SUNY campuses, Medina is looking forward to reaching out to prospective students and faculty of different backgrounds, and perspectives.

This comes from a comprehensive diversity policy, encouraging campuses across SUNY to push for  inclusive and proper hiring practices, recruitment practices, and a diverse polling audiences.

"Faculty diversity is not just a SUNY issue," Medina said. "It's a national issue; many institutions across the coutnry have realized over the last decade that their faculty body doesn't represent the growing diversity among students ... The faculty is the backbone of an institution. If you have faculty that can represent the population of New York State, that has an impact."

On a student level, Brockport is providing open spaces for communication about such issues. Chief Diversity Officer of Brockport Student Government Jordin Pickett has been working with the Office of Diversity to send out surveys - what is working and what students want to see more of.

"We will be sending out surveys around campus so we can be more visible," Pickett said. "I want more feedback."

Upcoming diversity events include the Women's History Month Film Series throughout March in Rochester's Little Theatre, 240 East Avenue; Transformative Leadership, March 1, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Tuttle 201; Queering Racial Justice, March 2, 7 p.m. in Eagle's Lookout.

Together, both on campus and in administrative offices throughout SUNY, diversity is becoming an important issue that continues to be addressed. One question still to be asked is: is it working? Some students have varying opinions.

"People may not agree with others lifestyle, but I haven't seen that prevent friendships," Brockport student Mark Washington wrote. "As for the colleges message of diversity, it's has already gone above and beyond to promote diversity. I don't know if there is ever too much promoting diversity, but those who are going to listen have already."

Brockport junior Dymani Poyser disagrees.

"The College of Brockport is failing to tackle issues of diversity properly in my eyes. They do a lot of preaching but I don't see a lot of action," Poyser said. "Its a lot of racial tension on this campus and a lot of racially motivated incidents. However, there never seems to be any decisive responses from the campus.  Brockport says they are making strides for a better community, but no true changes are being made," Poyser said.



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