Student facilitators for DePauw Dialogue feel excluded from planning process

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Students will lead some sessions at today’s Day of Dialogue, in response to feedback from last year’s event, in which some students felt there was too much instruction and not enough discussion, according to Myrna Hernandez, dean of students.

    However, some of today’s student facilitators have complained they had little input in the day’s discussion topics.

    Student facilitators juniors Ashley Beeson and Kiara Goodwine are concerned because students were not involved in deciding the issues being addressed today, saying there has not been enough student consultation about how the day is structured. “If [Day of Dialogue] is really for students and for building community amongst students, then why is there not a more transparent process where students can vote [for what happens during the day]?” Goodwine asked.

    According to Beeson, only 19 students will help lead sessions today, compared to 56 faculty and staff members. However, according to Hernandez, more faculty responded this year than students.

    During the summer, coordinators of Day of Dialogue reached out to DePauw students, faculty and staff who were trained or involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives, inviting them to help lead today’s events. According to Hernandez, student facilitators received more training than in previous years, which included simulating all of the day’s activities step by step. Hernandez also described student facilitators’ roles, such as leading discussions with the help of a faculty member, participating in smaller group discussions and answering one-on-one questions.

    To combat lack of student involvement, Beeson thinks students should be on every committee involved in the planning of Day of Dialogue because “the administrators and the faculty and staff aren’t the ones who are in the dorms, who are walking down the streets…where all the students are and where the majority of all these issues are happening.” Both Goodwine and Beeson agree that greater student participation will improve the quality of the event

    One of the biggest points of discrepancy concerning student facilitation tomorrow is the scripts facilitators are required to follow. Senior student facilitator Peter Gorman says it will be nice to have talking points, but he wants to try and have more “organic conversations.” As a first-generation college student, Gorman will be a facilitator for this year’s SEED workshop. However, he is optimistic overall about today’s events and said he feels well-trained for his role. In addition, he hopes the DePauw administration will follow up on the day’s events “so that it’s not just a one day thing.”