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By Gus Bode

The changes some students and faculty desire on campus cut right to the university’s core.

More than 60 people of varying ages and ethnicities spotted the Student Center Auditorium Monday for ‘The Summit of Change: Diversity Anniversaries,’ and congregated to celebrate the past, present and future advancements in diversity.

Audience members said they wanted to see changes to the university’s core curriculum.

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‘If there was a requirement to graduate from SIU, even if it was 3 community service hours per student … we have nearly 18,000 students on this campus. Imagine how many hours that would be going into the community,’ said Julian Rios, a senior from Kankakee studying business management and marketing.

Rios said during the open dialogue session that involvement in the multicultural activities would help others more clearly see and accept diversity.

‘We’re never going to see outside of each other and I think with those community service hours and with the involvement amongst our campus, that’s what it’s going to take,’ Rios said. ‘If stripes are always with stripes, we’re never going to see the polka dots.’

The forum opened with five professors speaking on their goals for the university’s future in diversity. The panel members included Ron Caffey, assistant professor of Black American Students; Patrick Dilley, associate professor of education administration and higher education; Rachel Griffin, assistant professor of speech communication; Michelle Miller, associate professor of sociology; and John Warren, associate professor of speech communication. They covered an array of groups of people including whites, blacks, males, females, heterosexuals and a homosexual.

‘(They gave us) a lens to look at these things and how it relates to a practical application of the kinds of things that folks may want to do on an individual and collective basis,’ said Carmen Suarez, director of the Office of Diversity and Equity.

On stage behind the panel were three large flip charts, on which the panel scribbled the audience’s ideas and comments.

Suarez said the items discussed during the forum would be put together in a document and shared with campus administrators such as Chancellor Sam Goldman.

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Those opposed to the idea of altering the core curriculum said diversity can’t be forced on students. The panel said there would be no forcing, but simply providing students with an opportunity.

The panel also said because the university is a research orientated university, there’s a ‘publish or perish mentality.’

Because the university is not a liberal arts school, the panel said there would be many obstacles in order to create the change the audience was requesting.

Other concerns brought up by the audience were about integrating the numerous groups on campus. Some said many groups focused on just one aspect of a person instead of intersecting everyone.

‘It’s important to recognize the struggle for equality isn’t over. That change is an ongoing process that people can make a difference by getting involved if we give them an opportunity to get involved to help SIUC to be the place they want it to be,’ said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

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