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18th Diversity Conference, still no acknowledgement

by The Stylus
Tue, Sep 25th 2018 05:00 pm
Elliott LaPoint/Editorial Cartoonist
Elliott LaPoint/Editorial Cartoonist

Students attending The College at Brockport know and love Scholars Day, a day where the college celebrates scholarship and creativity by giving students a day off to observe informative presentations. However, that’s never the way it actually goes. Scholars Day is known to be one of the wildest partying days of the semester. Instead of attending the non-mandatory events, college students find a different use for their days, flipping red solo cups and laughing at the thought of going on campus to be “provided with intellectual enrichment.”  

Scholar’s Day is a day of sharing knowledge about any and everything Brockport has to offer. The unfortunate students who get stuck having to be a part of it team up with faculty and staff to offer a full day’s worth of  “scholarly and creative work, using disciplinary techniques of public presentation,” according to Brockport’s website. 

It’s almost guaranteed that if we were to ask the student body if they’d like to join in several power-point slideshows “that illustrate the academic excellence at the heart of the Brockport experience,” the majority would roll over in bed and take the few extra hours to rest up for their big day.

The Diversity Conference, on the other hand, is a completely different story when discussing Brockport’s annual events. Known for promoting open-mindedness, celebrating diversity and promoting awareness of divergent views, the Diversity Conference piques students’ interests much more than listening to a peer offer brief lectures on whatever they were assigned to research. 

The college goes all out for the conference, inviting well-known speakers, offering culture based performances and a welcoming continental breakfast as well as an international luncheon or dinner later in the day for anyone who shows up. Unfortunately, students still have to attend classes the day the Diversity Conference is held. 

Brockport takes great pride in its diversity and equity, giving it even more incentive to support this event. The college’s goal is to “explore important values that help us build and nurture our community through dialogue that addresses the challenges that face our society, as well as our growth in understanding and acting upon issues of diversity and inclusive excellence. Our goal is to encourage a positive climate on campus, within the community and the world through teaching, inspiring and helping others.”

Creating that positive climate on Brockport’s campus is made easier by incorporating themes for the speakers to follow at every diversity conference. Speakers with knowledge and experience on these topics help students look deeper at the challenges currenty facing our society.  

 This year, Brockport’s theme for supporting campus interactions was, “building a Strategic Roadmap for Inclusive Excellence, emphasizing the actions of Respect, Compassion and Open-mindedness to create a stronger and more positive learning, working and living environment for all Brockport students, faculty, staff (including Rochester Downtown Campus, REOC, Visual Studies Workshop campuses) and the community.” 

Like every year, the Diversity Conference also offered a featured guest speaker, one who has a great story or positive influences to share. This year revolved around the freshman’s summer ‘reading assignment,’ as rising author, Angie Thomas, was invited to speak on behalf of her New York Times bestselling book, ‘The Hate U Give.’ Now being transformed into a film, “The Hate U Give,” touches on the current, nationwide epidemics of discrimination, poverty and police brutality. 

Well, Brockport feels as if daily classes are more important than attending a discussion about what our fellow classmates may be going through or why people react the way they do towards certain subjects. The whole point of the production is to open our minds, as pupils of a university, to put ourselves in others’ shoes, to bring our attention towards problems that do not necessarily bother us personally, but for other’s we see on a day-to-day basis, it could be an everyday struggle for them.

You would think if Brockport takes so much pride in its diversity, maybe students would be given the opportunity to attend whichever event they are intrigued by. It’s very rare to find a student attending or presenting at Scholar’s Day voluntarily. Usually most who attend are there for classes or because one of their professors tasked them with an assignment. 

Most professors on campus highly recommend attending the conference, some even make it mandatory, making it difficult for students to manage classes and sit in on certain sessions throughout the day. If a professor makes Scholar’s Day mandatory, a student’s only worry is not getting inebriated before the session they have to attend. 

We at The Stylus believe students deserve the day off to get the full experience of what the Diversity Conference has to offer. It is not about getting classes canceled or pushing back a test the next day, it’s about taking in others’ experiences and broadening horizons to support unification of positive society. 

Scholar’s Day gives students the day off because it is unfair to make students miss classes for college related events when it’s not mandatory for others. The Stylus believes if the Diversity Conference is hosted to better the school and give people an outside perspective, students should be granted the opportunity to experience the conference in its entirety.