Roundtable focuses on building a stronger community

by Patrick Kaminowski

Feb. 27, 2018

The dialogue within Cleveland State University surrounding discriminatory actions and hate speech throughout campus continue.

Many steps to combat hate speech were proposed at a community roundtable discussion on Monday, Feb. 12.

These included incorporating diversity training into student leadership organizations and having a designated day on campus for all to celebrate groups with which they identify.

Maurice Stinnett, Ph.D., vice president of engagement and chief diversity officer at Cleveland State University, welcomed audience members to the conversation and encouraged everyone to openly share their ideas and suggestions to help the Cleveland State community maintain its diversity and become more of an inclusive environment.

Vice President of Student Affairs Boyd Yarbrough, followed Stinnett’s opening comments. He discussed the importance of the Viking Creed, a code of values and conduct which was formed by the Student Affairs division.

Work on the creed actually started before the anti-LGBQT posters appeared on campus last fall. Yarbrough explained that the creed encapsulates what it means to be a part of the Viking community. “I think it really sets the stage for this conversation,” Yarbrough said.

Stinnett told the audience of the Bias Incident Response Team, which is in place to promote education and dialogue and support the university’s commitment to free speech, diversity and academic freedom.

The university formed the team so the community would have a “centralized location to go to” when a situation that may impose discrimination, harassment, or violence arises.

Rachel King, chief compliance officer at Cleveland State, addressed everyone on issues pertaining policy regarding posting flyers on campus bulletin boards. She said people wanting to put material up on campus must meet certain requirements.

The material must have some type of contact information, it needs to list some type of campus activity and the distributors must bring in the posters or flyers in person to the Diversity Council for prior approval before posting them.

Roundtable leaders asked audience members to offer suggestions and ideas to generate positive momentum for the university’s future efforts in welcoming diversity. After soliciting the comments and committing them to paper, all audience members marked their top choices for consideration.

Stinnett assured everyone that all ideas would be carefully considered. “This isn’t a one and done situation,” Stinnett said. “The work of diversity and inclusion is ongoing.”

The Diversity Council is located at Parker Hannifin Hall 235 2258 Euclid Ave.


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