Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Race & The News Record

The News Record had several articles today that caught my eye:

First, a piece on the recent campus visit by Dr. Orlando Patterson, Harvard University professor. I'm excited to hear about the discussion it generated and was sorry to miss the event (was at the Human Rights Watch film festival instead). The only thing I'd challenge in this article is that this event is "starting" a discussion on race on our campus. I definitely see where it may be starting it among people who haven't been discussing it. But I've seen many a meaningful discussion on race on this campus in my twelve years here. RAPP's been trucking along on the topic (among many) for 24 years. The United Black Student Association (UBSA) brings dozens of formal and countless informal conversations on the topic every year (as it has over its many decades and different names). Ethnic Programs and Services, the UC Women's Center, Resident Education and Development, the AACRC, NPHC organizations, and dozens of student groups - all of them generate thought-provoking, meaningful conversations on our campus around race and other areas of social identity. And that's just Student Life! Many of our academic peers are working daily on this, too!

Speaking of our awesome student groups, Ron Hart Brown - Programs and Activities Council, UBSA, and an RA, among other things - penned a great letter to the editor about programming on campus. His letter was in response to an opinion piece by a student who transfered to UC from OU in 2008 and has come to believe that "nothing is happening at UC." Ron's letter highlights the sad but important fact that the biggest limiting factor for our campus activities in terms of the programs put on by PAC is financial - we have 1/5 of the budget of OSU and unlike OU we won't charge students for tickets to cover the cost. That last fact is one thing I really value about PAC: Despite their lack of funds, they bring over 50 fun and free programs to our campus each year, including big name bands, comedians, and speakers. They are committed to making these accessible to all students regardless of their financial means.

On a final note, today's Spotlight is about UC history professor Nikki Taylor. It highlights well the work she is doing to create meaningful conversation and offering education as a means to combat racism in education and in our community.

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