Posted October 31, 2014

Students and faculty host events focused on diversity

Video Production: Gina Benigno

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, students, faculty and administrators came together for two diversity-centered events organized to ensure that inclusivity remains a topic of conversation on campus.

The first event, Imagining and Reimagining Diversity at Temple, brought together more than 800 students, faculty members and administrators for a daylong symposium.

Participants from across disciplines crowded into the MBA Commons in Alter Hall, where they shared their ideas on diversity at interactive “conversation stations” and during roundtable discussions.    

The goal of the symposium, sponsored by the Faculty Senate and facilitated by Karen Umemoto, professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Hawaii, was to develop a clear action plan and implementation strategies for defining diversity at Temple.

“We felt that it was important that the conversation include all aspects of diversity,” said Karen Turner, co-organizer and associate professor of journalism in the School of Media and Communication.

“The suggested action items gleaned from the symposium discussions will be presented to the provosts and deans during a retreat on Dec. 5. From that meeting, we're hoping for a commitment from the university to begin to develop strategies for more inclusivity.”

On the evening of Oct. 28, Temple Student Government (TSG) hosted the first annual TUnity event at the Bell Tower, where students received the first look at TSG’s diversity statement.

TSG began working with students across campus to develop the new diversity statement at the beginning of the semester. Using student feedback, TSG developed a declaration that encourages the Temple community to continue its commitment to diversity by working to maintain an “environment founded on respect, open-mindedness, and dialogue that builds meaningful and collaborative relationships regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, or disability.”

“Students here were ready to address this issue head-on. They provided the necessary critical feedback...that we needed,” said Ray Smeriglio, Class of 2015, president of Temple Student Government. “It's now a piece of Temple history that thousands of Temple Owls can say they were a part of.”

TSG’s diversity statement will be included in the Student Conduct Code and made available to student organizations across campus through TUportal, orientation programs and student organization workshops.

In the coming months, TSG will host a TUnity awareness campaign through social media. The statement will also be featured prominently in the new home of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), located on the 2000 block of North Broad Street. The new office is set to open this fall. 

Mayor Michael Nutter recognized both events during the symposium with a proclamation that officially declares Oct. 28 TUnity Day.