Parker Dunaway ‘15
According to Dean Hakeem Croom ’10, Assistant Dean of Students, Intercultural Affairs and Student Activities, “The Inclusion and Diversity program is a joint effort between the Office of Student Affairs, specifically Intercultural Affairs and the office of Civic Engagement alongside with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.” The program seeks to curtail what Nate Shepard ’14 observed as an occasional “air of exclusiveness.” The program seeks to “equip students with the proper skills to respond to acts of hate, bias, exclusivity, and bigotry,” according to Dean Croom. Dean Croom continued that the program has been working closely with Jonathan Zur of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities in the development stages of the program. This semester, the program is broken up into four sessions that “require students to be active in trying to conjure up Programming ideas for the institution to adopt for Orientation for the fall,” said Dean Croom. According to Shepard, “ Students who participate in every session receive a certificate of completion at the end of the workshop.” Two sessions have already been completed but there are still two more students are encouraged to go to: March 24th and April 14th.
When asked why this program was starting now, Dean Croom responded, in reference to the Nov. 6th incident, that “The Inclusion and Diversity program was designed not to peel back the scab of what happened last semester but to look forward and make our campus as inviting as possible with inclusion as a standard.” Shepard added that events like election night’s are a result of allowing “negative behavior go unchecked.”
Dean Croom noted that in the Fall’s orientation, there will be a program called “up-stander to by-stander” as training fro RA’s and student leaders. He also continued that inclusiveness will be a topic that comes up as a main point in Honor Convocation next semester.
All students are encouraged to join the program and movement towards inclusiveness on campus. There are posters and e-posters on campus with instructions for those wanting to join, but Dean Croom says that all one has to do is email him for registration—firstname.lastname@example.org.
In comments about the fledgling stages of the program, Nate Shepard had this to say: “though the diversity program is still in its infancy, I fully believe that the good men behind it will work diligently toward a comprehensive effort to foster an inclusive environment on Hampden-Sydney’s campus.”