The third annual University of Diversity Week (March 1-5) served as an open invitation to celebrate and educate the University of San Diego community about the importance of creating a more diverse, inclusive campus.
Students, staff, faculty and administrators marched, spoke, discussed and listened during this week’s events. The university also announced that through the recommendation of the President’s Advisory Board for Inclusion and Diversity (PABID) a Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) will be created. USD President Mary E. Lyons announced the center’s co-directors are English professor Carlton Floyd and Mayté Pérez Franco, director of the United Front Multicultural Center. Floyd has also been given the title of associate provost for inclusion and diversity.
“The areas that this center will emphasize,” Lyons explained at Tuesday’s March of the Toreros event, “are diversity of place, diversity of people, diversity of pedagogy, diversity of life experiences and diversity of culture and community.”
Recent racially motivated incidents at the University of California, San Diego served as a reminder of the need for more understanding, more education and opportunities for the USD community to join together and talk openly about diversity and inclusion. Joseph Maningas ’10, director of multicultural issues for the Multicultural Relations Board, said he is happy with USD’s progress, but “there is a lot more work to do.”
“When I was a sophomore, there was still a lot happening, there was still the hate and bias-motivated incidents,” he said. “That’s what drove me to work for diversity. Since then, I think it has improved and I’m glad, more and more, that the administration is listening to the students.”
Sarah Miralles ‘10 has also been an active leader for increasing awareness about diversity and inclusion. “My freshman and sophomore years I was very active within the United Front Multicultural Center,” she said. “Through working there I saw a need for change on our campus and I thought the best way to do so would be to join Associated Students.”
At the March of the Toreros, participants carried signs with messages such as “United Front Multicultural Center Loves Inclusion and Diversity,” “Women Rock” and “USD Students Do Not Tolerate Hate.”
PABID and On Our Campus sponsored the screening of a 20-minute documentary, “Voices of Diversity,” on Wednesday. According to producers — employees John Adkins and Julia Bemiss — the film was two years in the making. It was shown to a near capacity crowd and featured students, staff and faculty discussing diversity and the need to break down barriers to create a more respectful community. A short discussion followed.
“This was done as a means to get people talking, to get the process going,” said Adkins, department head of public services, circulation and reference in USD’s Legal Research Center.
USD’s University of Diversity Week concludes Friday with two events. Personal testimonies of first generation, low income and commuter students will be heard from noon to 1 p.m. in UC Room 107 and Brothers and Sisters United’s signature Black History Month event at 6:30 in UC Forum C, “A Night to Celebrate a Rich Heritage” features free dinner, entertainment and a keynote address by Daniel E. Walker.
— Ryan T. Blystone
To see a video slideshow of the March of the Toreros, click the image above.