Update: The day's schedule is: 8:15 a.m. Neal Fieldhouse doors open, 9:00 a.m. Opening remarks from President Casey and Renee Madison, 9:15 a.m. Presentation by Dr. Derald Sue, 11:15 a.m. Pizza lunch with breakout group in rooms around campus, 1:00 a.m. Presentation by Thomas DeWolf and Sharon Morgan in Neal Fieldhouse, 2:30 a.m. Discussion in breakout groups in rooms around campus (to conclude by 4:00)
Last semester, faculty at DePauw University voted to suspend classes for a day in light of discussions that were occurring on campus surrounding diversity and inclusiveness.
Students, faculty and staff gathered over Winter Term to plan this day, which will be this Wednesday, Jan. 28.
An email sent Friday by Vice President for Student Life Christopher Wells and Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity and Compliance Renee Madison announced that the day, called “DePauw Dialogue,” would be mandatory.
“Students who do not attend on the 28th will not be able to register for fall classes or walk at commencement,” the email from Friday read.
This email led to a flurry of activity online including emails among faculty, posts on the anonymous social media app Yik Yak and a petition on Change.org.
“I believe that Diversity Day can be beneficial to the DePauw community, but I also believe that the way in which the University is conducting the event is going to have a negative influence on this day,” sophomore Frederick Soster, who started the Change.org petition, wrote in an email. “Forcing students, faculty, and staff to attend this event will not help the campus community if any students, faculty, and/or staff do not wish to attend, whatever the reason. Instead, I believe it will only create more problems on this campus.”
DePauw Student Government President Cody Watson sent an email to greek leaders and student organization leaders alike asking students to email him with any messages that they want passed to the administration.
Earlier today, however, Wells and Madison sent another email. This email said participation in “DePauw Dialogue” would no longer be mandatory.
The email noted that the previous email “sparked a number of conversations that have felt like distractions from the purpose of the day itself.”
Faculty members had concerns about the day because it seemed like it could be a new graduation requirement. For something to become a graduation requirement, the faculty must vote. In the case of “DePauw Dialogue,” such a vote did not occur.
“The academic policy concerns in particular have required that we re-think our position in regard to the student requirement to attend,” today’s email read.