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"Brockport Night Out:"opening the dialogue to diversity

by Margaret Stewart | copy editor
Tue, Sep 18th 2018 02:00 pm
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Men of Color hosted the second annual “Brockport Night Out” this past Wednesday, Sept. 12. The event “Brockport Night Out,” is based on “National Night Out,” and worked to improve the relations between the students and law enforcement officers, both operating on and off the campus of The College at Brockport.

 While the first year consisted of Men of  Color as well as the University Police, this year, the event was extended to the Brockport Police Department and many other student organizations. 

“We can’t control national issues,” Dr. Cephas Archie, Chief Diversity Officer on  the campus said. “But we can control the local issue.”

Both University Police as well as     Brockport Police Officers joined Brockport        students in the campus mall to participate in events like a wheel barrow race, dodgeball, and a tug of war.

 However, the most important event that took place was the Identity Map. This was where all participants were expected to  identify with different factors that have an impact on diversity in order to figure out that our differences do not only divide us, but can unite us as well.

 Some of the main categories included one’s socioeconomic class, gender and appearance. For example, one of the questions was what are you most proud of? The largest answer was family and yet, perhaps more significant, was that no one chose “appearance” as something they were most proud of.

“‘Brockport Night Out’ is important to campus because we have many diverse groups,” BSG President Josh Matthews said.        

The tension between the law enforcement officers and students, particularly students of color, was also acknowledged. This was an important moment because many students of color feel personally attack by law enforcement not only on the campus, but in the village of Brockport as well.  

“We want to put aside our differences to build our community,” Matthews said. 

This event marks the second of the          diversity events that have occurred on campus since students have moved back for the academic year.

 According to Daniel Jimenez, President of Men of Color, this was intentional. As the second event in just two weeks, Jimenez said they were “looking to set the tone early.” 

For new and returning students, it is important to see the efforts that both the campus as well as local police departments are making in terms of diversity.

Much like it’s previous events, “Brockport Night Out” worked to assist the unity around the immediate Brockport community and then the greater Brockport area.

 “This is exactly what we wanted it to be,” Jimenez said. “We are all one people, we are all one Brockport.”

As impactful as the event has been for students, it has had a similar effect on local law enforcement officers. For example, Mark Cuzzupoli, Chief of the Brockport Police Department, noted how important this event was for the community as a whole. 

Chief Cuzzupoli said, “it’s a start toward trust.” 

11 out of the 16 officers were voluntarily in attendance signifying the unity they hope to promote across the Brockport community.

Similarly, Chief of University Police Dan Vasile mentioned that many of the officers in the department have ties directly to the college. 10 out of the 16 officers are graduates of Brockport. 

It’s biggest goal is to encourage a dialogue between students and officers in order to foster better communication and relationships across the board.

 

mstew7@brockport.edu | margotpolo96