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Lane Barton of The Whitman Pioneer reports.

Administration To Promote Race-Related Education

Ever since the Rally Against Racism last fall provoked a campus-wide conversation about race, the Whitman administration has been keen to promote future discussions on the issue. Although the upcoming Power and Privilege Symposium provides an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to come together and have thought-provoking exchanges, members of the administration recognize that this is only a single step in developing the conversation of race and diversity on campus.

“One and done is not enough,” said Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland.

The administration has already taken steps to promote internal understanding of and involvement with discussions of racial diversity on campus. The college is currently looking for an associate dean of diversity and intercultural affairs to focus on issues of race, and the administration has already held a training session for the Student Affairs staff with Tamara King, an expert on race issues from Washington University in St. Louis. The session addressed how the administration has handled the issue of race on campus and what they can do to promote discussions in the future.

Additionally, the administration has ideas for students as well, such as the possibility of an opening week workshop for first-years.

“We’re looking to organize an opening week session. We’re in the middle of doing that …. In general, the framework that I think we’re looking to apply is to have someone come in and talk about … this issue of how to have difficult conversations over difficult issues that gives first-year students some of the tools and then follow up with a series of sessions,” said Cleveland.

Although some might worry that this proposed session would turn into a lecture or a training of first-year students, members of the administration emphasize that events like this are about promoting discourse and trying to get people to think about the issues at hand.