Multicultural Affairs

 

Engaging Dialogue: Improving Campus Climate

This document addresses the issues and concerns raised by students and submitted to administration November 6, 2008, as intended to increase cultural awareness and administrative transparency.

Colby College is committed to students learning about people and cultures different from themselves, the richness these differences add to our society, the fact that prejudice limits such enrichment, and how each individual can promote tolerance and understanding.   These values are at the core of our colleges' mission.

As in the larger community, mistakes are often made in regard to lack of cultural sensitivity, cultural knowledge and overall respect and understanding of our human differences.  Fortunately, in this college environment we are able to reflect upon these situations, and, sometimes use them as cultural learning opportunities. 

The work that is taking place now, and has been for the last three years, through the Student Affairs strategic plan known as Colby 360 (a holistic approach to intellectual engagement in all aspects of student life) is institutional. Such actions include, but are not limited to enhancing or changing student programs, coordinating staff functions to better serve and achieve the College's diversity objective and developing multicultural literacy curricular standards for academic and social life.

Your demonstrated concerns, combined with student and administrative leadership, have influenced the dedication and speed with which these changes are being made and implemented. These changes will come in the form of immediate tangible programmatic changes as well as ongoing enhancements to campus culture. Some changes you will see now and some will reveal themselves later.  The work towards reaching our goals can be as enriching as it is to achieve them.

Student Programming Board

SPB holds meetings for their General Board and members of the community. Included in the Agenda will be discussion and feedback on proposed programming. Meetings are held every other Monday.  The times and locations can be found at http://www.colby.edu/spb/meetingsandhours.html.

There is greater level of oversight of SPB by Campus Life. Secondly, Campus Life and SPB have partnered to collaborate in the programmatic selection and presentation of campus wide programs.  Additionally, SPB and PCB have created a partnership to increase communication as well as programming co-sponsorships.  These collaborative relationships will allow for further conversations to increase cultural awareness in programming.

SPB & PCB Chairs and members will meet regularly and have a representative act as a liaison on respective boards. Recorded minutes will be available on PCB & SPB websites.

SPB & PCB will share the Marson Room as a meeting space and workplace for programming efforts.

A calendar will be displayed in Pulver (across from the Pugh Center) shared by SPB, PCB and other Clubs for postings of events and programs.

In reference to questions pertaining to artist contracts, language has been enhanced in the Colby Campus Life Riders to read as follows:  Artist should refrain from use of comments/material having racist, sexist or homophobic overtones.  Should the Artist make comments and/or use material of an explicitly racist, sexist, homophobic nature, the Presenter reserves the right to end the performance immediately and withhold payment.  If all conditions are not fulfilled, the contract will be renegotiated according to violation. 

Students who have a concern about an event in progress can approach the student in charge of the program (SPB or other) or contact Security.

As planning begins for the spring and fall semesters, with respect to student leadership training, Campus Life and SGA resources (internal & external) are being identified to further the educational opportunities for students and staff.  Such initiatives include a student leadership multicultural and training retreat, and interactive training programs throughout the semester. 

Students seeking leadership positions will be expected to show evidence of diversity training or experiences.  For example, involvement in a situation where empathy was displayed and specific action was taken to improve understanding of the circumstance.

Academics

The November 6, 2008 document requested, "All first-year students fulfill a multicultural diversity requirement, in the form of an academic course, similar to the all-campus requirement for English 115." Coincidentally, the curricular planning working groups, in their broad review of the Colby curriculum that began in March 2008, have developed a multicultural literacy requirement for all students.  The work of this group is ongoing, and the parameters of the Multicultural Literacy proposal are yet to be fully determined.  It will, however, focus, broadly, on providing students with knowledge and skills that will enable them to interact effectively with others across all dimensions of difference, and to live and work productively in multicultural contexts.  Also, since August 2008, the Multicultural Literacy group has been working closely with other faculty involved in the ongoing Curricular Planning process.  The proposals that result from this process (including a proposal for a Multicultural Literacy requirement) will be presented to and considered by the full faculty in the spring of 2009.

 

Action Plan Moving Forward

 

To increase communication between the student body and administration it has been proposed to have at least two Town Hall forums a semester to inform and exchange information about Campus matters. SGA currently has this proposal and will move forward with it in the spring. The discussions could be on a topic from the civil discourse, or students can submit questions or concerns.

Below are the programmatic offerings currently in progress:

SPB/PCB

             
  • Coordinate to share offices
  • Collaborative Calendar in Pulver
  • Joint Review Meetings
  • Liaisons to meetings
  • Joint Programming
  • SHOUT Weekend
  • Collaborative Loudness –  (recommend changing name to UNITY)  

Multicultural Retreat – Hosted by SGA

  • Weekend retreat for student leaders on engaging difference 
Orientation
  • COOT
  • Student Leader Training
  • Addition of Engaging Difference Program

CCOR

  • Enhancing facilitator training for spring semester
  • Possible retreat with CCOR facilitators from other institutions in spring semester
  • Recruitment committee to send invitations to athletic teams inviting two members to participate during spring semester
  • Email addresses for CCOR is ccorgroup@colby.edu
  • CCOR will be housed in the SOAR Club.
 

 Martin Luther King Annual Celebration - Realize the Dream (this year's theme)

 
  •  Student Production and Performances with faculty & staff participation.
      Note: Colby faculty handbook states in the event of a MLK program from noon to 2:00 PM
      that  classes can be rescheduled. 

SHOUT (Speaking, Hearing, Opening Up Together)                           March 5,6,7

 
  • Student workshops, performances and speakers about multiculturalism    organized by PCB and other interested students. Guest Speaker: Eve Ensler, playwright, Vagina Monologues

Off Campus Programming

 
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock, Portland                                             January 18
    An African American female acapella group known for their textured,    musical arrangements, of spirituals, protest songs and folk music.
  • Drumline, Performance inspired by Historically Black colleges & universities marching bands University of Maine, Orono                                                March 3
  • Enter the Haggis, Celtic Music, Waterville Opera House        March 13
 

PCB Programming

 
  • Slanty Eye Mama, 7PM  Pugh Center                                          February 19
    Slanty Eyed Mama has been on the forefront of Asian American    counterculture since early  2001.     Experimenting with hip-hop, spoken word, electro, and pop, they have developed a funky urban Asian vibe. 

Pugh Community Board

  • Celebrating Colby Women                                                          March 14
  • Sandi Dubowski, documentary filmmaker and Gay Rights activist of Jewish faith. Mr. Dubowski  explores issues of sexuality and religion               April  2                                                                                                                                                           
 

Multicultural Programming in Pugh Center

  • Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration: Gao Pong, Pipa Musician performance                                                                                                                        February 14
 

Candlelight Series Saturday Night dinner & discussion with faculty   TBA         

 

Dialogue not Debate, hosted by students                                                 TBA         

 

Race & Racism Committee
The Committee on Race and Racism serves as a vehicle for considering policy, practices, and issues of any kind related to, but not limited to, race and racism on the campus; review and suggest strategies:

  1. for addressing racial harassment
  2. for addressing curricular issues, e.g., the diversity requirement
  3. for hiring and retention of faculty and staff of color, including affirmative action
  4. for recruiting and retaining students of color
  5. regarding policies and practices pertaining to residential life, and campus climate, e.g., racial awareness training initiatives

Success in Science Initiatives
This is an initiative to create interest in the sciences for first years and  underrepresented groups.

 

Ongoing Student Leadership Training
Campus Life to include skill set development around multicultural topics

Signed by Noel James, Multicultural Affairs, Kelly Wharton, Campus Life, Jessica Dash, Campus Life, Joe Atkins, Multicultural Affairs, Mark Tappan, Professor and Director, Education, Tiffany Martin'09 and Paolo Pepe'09.