2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Where Do We Go from Here?” Reflections

Dear Campus Community,

On January 19, 2015, more than 200 students, faculty, staff, and administrators came together for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative event “Where Do We Go from Here?” This event was an opportunity to hear remarks from President Greene and discuss where we as a community go from here in regard to diversity and inclusion. Through this powerful dialogue, community members provided their ideas in response to the question, where do we go from here?

Those responses are included below. The reflections are divided into three categories:

  • Steps to starting the conversation
  • Considering your personal role
  • Reconsidering the institution’s role and structures

Steps to starting the conversation

  • Dialogue
  • Listen to more people’s life stories
  • Be willing to talk about race and social issues
  • Be curious
  • Expand the dialogue
  • Be open-minded
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Understand differing perspectives
  • Keep talking, listening, and sharing experiences
  • Support looking at issues from all sides/ recognizing complexity
  • Accept/understand that we live in different realities
  • Acknowledge your ignorance
  • Humility from all

Considering your personal role

  • Mix-it-up lunch meals
  • Engage on a community level
  • Don’t be complacent
  • Take active agency in the things that matter
  • Even though we are young, we can still make changes
  • Inspire genuine interest in other people’s well being

Reconsidering the institution’s role and structures

Academic

  • Requirement that all students attend/participate in discussions on race/diversity
  • Questions about the diversity requirement: What classes qualify? Do they address these issues? Should there be more options?
  • More financial transparency, especially about tuition
  • In all courses find a way to incorporate conversations on inequality into the syllabus
  • Make sure people have the language to engage
  • President Greene should continue to be part of the conversation—with specific goals

Staff and administration

  • More conversations—groups who will hear our ideas and then think strategically about how to implement and shift the culture of the institution
  • Encourage participation from all levels (staff, faculty, students, community members)
  • Diversity advocate on senior staff
  • Provide resources and support for families of young and diverse hires
  • Support diversity in recruitment by policies, procedures, and funding
  • Comprehensive diversity program support system
  • More administrative consideration of support systems for students of diverse backgrounds
  • Post-bachelor’s employment and training opportunities for a more diverse staff at Colby

Student experience

  • Service and Alternative Spring Break trips with diversity focus
  • Incentivize volunteerism in the community (staff and faculty in particular)
  • More programs for students to have facilitated conversations with food/ dorm events with wellness credit
  • Promote programs like CCOR in a “better way”
  • Start these conversations at COOT
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Provide more guidance and multiple options for students who are underprivileged or need more guidance
  • Faculty residents and CAs provide informal interactions around issues of diversity, privilege, life
  • Involve athletic teams in more race-based conversations
  • Spontaneous discourse day
  • Provide more entertainment (comedic aspect)
  • Be more inclusive in spaces that are not multicultural
  • “Salon” at a student level, encourage cross-cultural communication

More ways to think together; more opportunities to share and reflect on issues that matter

Some examples:

  • Publicizing the Chicago killings
  • Differences between internal lives lost vs. how we would react if this happened abroad
  • Explore how things would have been different if MLK were still alive
  • Examine Colby-Waterville separation
  • What does progress mean for us?
  • Current issues mirror the social problems of King’s day
  • Colby is a microcosm of the nation
  • Examine how we get to a place of genuine integration
  • How do we create a more inclusive community?