Opening the Floor for Diversity

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Stony Brook kicks off spring tour of Diversity Town Halls, invites and answers questions

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Diversity Town Hall, left to right, Lynne Johnson, Braden Hosch, Jerry Stein, Robbye Kinkade and Michael Bernstein

No question was left unanswered as Stony Brook University began its second tour of Diversity Town Hall events on Wednesday, April 12 at the Charles B. Wang Center.

Students, faculty and staff were invited to voice their questions, comments and concerns regarding diversity on campus as part of implementing, and continuing to improve, Stony Brook’s Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.

After providing a brief update about campus-wide progress since the prior Diversity Town Hall last December 12, and outlining the recently released 2017 Implementation Work Plan, Chief Deputy to the President Judith Greiman led a panel of University administrators in answering questions submitted before the event, and asked live by attendees.

“I’m extremely impressed with the number of young people in the room, and I’m extremely proud of the young people who participated in helping to develop our diversity plan,” said panelist Robbye Kinkade, director of the Recognizing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (R.E.D.I) Project, which provides a six-hour diversity seminar geared toward increasing the understanding and celebration of cultures that contribute to our diverse campus community.

Many students not only attended, but engaged with administrators, asking the majority of questions from the audience. While some students asked about Stony Brook’s local response to major issues affecting people worldwide, others revealed their personal experiences with diversity related issues on campus.

The event is available on YouTube in its entirety. If you prefer, use the links below to jump directly within the video to individual questions asked in person at the Diversity Town Hall:

Several questions were also submitted before the event digitally and answered by the panel, regarding topics such as African-American student recruitment, resources and funding for students with disabilities, the inclusion of diversity in course curriculums, and details regarding diversity related issues occurring on campus recently.

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Chief Deputy to the President Judith Greiman

“When we coined the expression, ‘What’s a Seawolf? I’m a Seawolf,’ that really goes back to making everybody feel a part of this community,” said Jerry Stein, interim assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “That’s our challenge, and we’ve got to forge ahead as a community, work hard, and continue to listen to what people have to say.”

Some of the plan components outlined in Greiman’s update included budget allocations for several types of workshops on campus, enhanced recruitment of minority students including scholarships, and adjustments to allow for preferred names on student ID cards and diplomas. Non-budget related topics included strengthening relationships between University Police and students, ensuring opportunities and safety for LGBTQ* athletes, and supporting international students with integrating to campus life.

“While the plan was incredibly important to create here, the next, equally as important step is figuring out how we’re implementing this plan,” Greiman said. “The working groups have really made this plan sing, and are diverse in terms of focus, but also membership from students, staff and faculty.”

Along with Greiman, the panel included Marjolie Leonard, Director for Title IX and Risk Management; Lynn Johnson, Vice President of Human Resource Services; Braden Hosch, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness; Jerry Stein, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Robbye Kinkade, Director of the Recognizing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (R.E.D.I) Project; Michael Bernstein, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Rodney Morrison, Associate Provost for Enrollment & Retention Management.

Two more Diversity Town Halls are scheduled for the spring, and all students, faculty and staff are invited to attend, ask questions, submit comments, and use the hashtag #DiversityPlan on social media to join the conversation.

Monday, April 24, 2017 • 12:30 pm
Southampton Campus, Duke Lecture Hall
Submit questions

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 • 2:30 pm
Health Sciences Lecture Hall 2
Submit questions

Stony Brook University’s Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity arises out of an effort to enhance the campus community and in consideration of the persistent issues of inequality in our society. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the Diversity at Stony Brook website for regular updates regarding the plan and its implementation on campus.

–Brian Smith

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