Delta State University
Our partnership with Delta State University began with a crisis event on the campus. During Homecoming activities, members of a sorority presented a skit in blackface. The Institute was invited to join these young women to take part in restorative justice conversations. More than 60 women attended the first meeting and were quite engaged and quite concerned about their lack of knowledge about issues pertaining to race. Concerned about students’ lack of racial awareness, and in concert with the head of the Faculty Senate, the Diversity Committee and the President’s office, the Kappa Delta Sorority arranged for two other campus training sessions related to the benefits of diversity and racial awareness, as well as active bystanderism. More than 100 students attended the second session and more than 60 students attended the third session. This community seems excited and relieved to discuss issues of race and diversity on a much more comprehensive level. In both sessions, students actively engaged in the issues and assisted in directing the conversations to issues specific to their own concerns.
In March 2014, DSU hosted a day-long “Winning the Race” symposium in which the Winter Institute worked with the entire campus and surrounding communities to discuss the importance of equity work, how to productively address race in the classrooms, and applying theory to action. The Delta State University community continues its training with sessions directed at orientation and recruitment. The community is committed to examining the campus climate regarding inequities and continues to request conversations and workshops on how to create an equitable campus that supports safe and inclusive learning, living, and working environments.