The new academic school year calls for new ways to improve how we educate ourselves. Last year’s incidents of racial prejudice show that we need to change the way we interact with one another. In order to incite this change, several things should be done within the campus community moving forward.
We can change the campus climate by starting off with who attends events like as Diversity and Inclusion training. Panhellenic required its members to attend these events, yet it was not required of those from IFC. Typically, the ones who need to be educated the most are those that fit the hegemonic identity, which consists being a cisgender, white, heterosexual male. People who fit these categories have almost never faced the same amount of discrimination and oppression as those that do not fall within the majority. Enlightening them on the privilege they posses and how they can make a difference can completely alter the atmosphere here on DePauw’s campus, making students much more open-minded and self-aware.
In addition, diversity training should not just happen when something such as blackface occurs on campus, it should happen year round. There are countless topics and issues that everyone can be educated on, which is why events like Day of Dialogue should be required for students to attend. Day of Dialogue gives students an opportunity to learn about what is going on in the world outside of DePauw by offering various sessions on these different issues and topics such as immigration. The problem with Day of Dialogue right now is that the people that attend aren’t necessarily learning anything new, and the people that the event is designed for do not feel any sort of obligation to go. By making the Day of Dialogue mandatory, or more heavily incented, students that take part in Day of Dialogue could very well increase the general understanding of racial prejudice by the DePauw student body.
There are other options on campus for students to educate themselves. Events include Peace Camp and Justice Camp, which are week long events that include meetings about similar topics presented in Day of Dialogue but are meant to keep the conversation and activism alive. Peace Camp occurs during first semester whereas Justice Camp is in second semester. Other ways include attending events with speakers that come to DePauw as they offer useful knowledge to apply to everyday life. In conclusion, DePauw offers a wide selection of ways to educate yourself and to check your privilege.