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Diversity panel discusses inclusion on campus

By Mark Wadland

The subject of inclusion is one of great importance at FSU. Everyone wants to feel like they are at home in college, but unfortunately, not everyone does. This was the topic discussed at Tuesday’s Diversity Dialogue in the Multicultural Center.

Defining inclusion is not a simple task because different people have different opinions about its meaning. It comes down to what people do to make others feel valued and get along. This involves a variety of processes, such as people behaving respectfully toward others, educating people who perhaps do not know their way around FSU and giving others opportunities to join clubs if they wish.

One of the panelists, Erin Nechipurenko, the assistant vice president of Human Resources, explained how Human Resources had set up a blood drive due to a shortage of blood. She had hoped this would bring the community of Framingham together, but the drive did not come to fruition.

Another panelist told of how he received an email saying he could not participate in the blood drive due to his sexual orientation, based on a policy enacted by the Food and Drug Administration.

The blood drive was later canceled, and showed that people can be excluded from participating in a club, sport or event for no legitimate reason.

People then formed groups to discuss ways to be more inclusive at FSU.

These included advertising for events through email, creating an SUAB email list and forming an email sign-up list on FSU’s website.

When discussing inclusion, it is important to beware of over-saturation, as it may lead to people becoming bored or irritated with the idea of inclusion, according to the panel.

Is any single one of these ideas the best way to go about making this campus more inclusive, or is there no one perfect way to do so?

The Director of Affirmative Action, Title 9 and ADA Compliance, Kim Dexter, said, “I think the best way [to make FSU more inclusive] is to promote as much conversation as possible, both around inclusion as a specific topic and having people talk to each other who may not have otherwise had that opportunity.”

On the contrary, Professor of Education James Cressey said, “I don’t think there’s one best way [to make FSU more inclusive]. I think part of diversity is the idea that we would explore multiple ways of promoting inclusion.”

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