Race: The Next Step

By Elaine Jacobs Smith
April 15, 2016
Appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of
IUP Magazine.

IUP in the Spotlight

A Racial Justice Coalition for Change rally in January in front of the library. Photo: Keith Boyer

Some of these may sound familiar: a fraternity banned at the University of Oklahoma after members were caught on video singing a racist chant, a former University of Mississippi student sentenced to prison for hanging a noose on a statue, protests at UCLA after students wore blackface to a Kanye West-themed fraternity party, and protests over the handling of racist incidents at the University of Missouri that led to the resignations of the president and the chancellor.

For every Mizzou shakeup, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education lists many more occurrences of racist slurs yelled, scrawled, or posted on social media and other affronts to minority culture on college campuses.

While they may be growing more prevalent in the media, it’s not clear whether these incidents are on the rise. The US Department of Education reported 146 cases of racial harassment in fiscal year 2015, down 18 percent from the previous year, but up 50 percent from 2009. And, according to a study by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, only 13 percent of minority students report racial incidents to campus authorities.

During finals week in December, the spotlight shone on IUP after a student shared a photo on video-messaging application Snapchat. It showed a group of African American students talking in the library’s lobby with a superimposed caption: “monkeys stay in groups.” A screenshot made its way to other social media venues and went viral.

The incident sparked a protest on campus and set in motion conversations, policy reviews, beefed-up trainings, grass-roots efforts, panel discussions, and other events that are continuing this spring—and maybe indefinitely—to address what President Michael Driscoll called “the disease of racism.”

Driscoll’s message was clear: This was a racist incident, it wasn’t the first, and IUP won’t tolerate it.

He said that IUP and society must also address issues in the realms of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and more, but “given the strength of the incidents in the country and where we are right here and right now, it’s clear we need to focus on racism as the next step.”

While Driscoll has lots of support, on campus and in the community, he and the others know the task will take all hands. And that’s a start.



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Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

« First  < Previous  |  Next >    Last »

Finals Week, 2015

Yasmeen Stephens led a discussion December 9, 2015 at the HUB about racism on campus. Photo: Teri Enciso/Indiana Gazette

Yasmeen Stephens led a discussion December 9, 2015 at the HUB about racism on campus. Photo: Teri Enciso/Indiana Gazette

Yasmeen Stephens saw the December Snapchat post four days before graduating with an IUP sociology degree. Like many, she saw the photo as the last straw flung on the proverbial camel’s back. Coming to Indiana from West Oak Lane, a diverse neighborhood in Philadelphia, she had little experience with racism. But in Indiana, she said, she endured slurs, confrontations, and being followed and harassed by a truckload of white men while she walked alone at night. In the last year, things were especially heated, she said. At a Greek meeting last spring, members of historically African American groups arrived with tape over their mouths to protest comments made on a group-messaging app. Stephens said the comments, made in connection with the Baltimore riots, were about exercising the right to bear arms and using minorities for target practice.

After the Snapchat post on December 8, Stephens felt she needed to do something. With help from her department, she booked space in the Hadley Union Building the next day to join in a race relations webinar. But the conversation among students in attendance drowned out the webinar. “They really wanted to get their frustrations across,” Stephens said. “They felt as though they weren’t being heard.”

Eventually, they decided to march to Wallwork Hall, where another meeting was going on. Driscoll and other administrators were discussing the Snapchat post with about 30 leaders of student organizations.

During the march, Stephens worked to keep tempers in check. “I was preaching calm, to be honest, so white people wouldn’t see us as monkeys, because that’s not who we are,” she said. “As long as we were marching in a positive manner and being calm and not disrespectful, I felt like that was the way to go.”

Driscoll learned of the Snapchat photo, and of subsequent threats to the student who made the post, through a phone call around 2:30 a.m. He then scheduled discussions for that day with his cabinet, with a small group of faculty and staff members of color, and with the large group of student leaders in Wallwork Hall.

He agreed that the uproar and IUP’s response were not about one racist incident; the Snapchat post was “just the latest symptom.” In a message to the campus community that day, he said that in recent months he had seen many examples of name-calling and blaming groups for the actions of individuals. “I have felt a growing sense of unease about how we talk about and treat each other,” he wrote.

Students marched from the HUB to Wallwork Hall to talk with President Michael Driscoll after a racist post was spread via social media. Photo: Teri Enciso/Indiana Gazette

Students marched from the HUB to Wallwork Hall to talk with President Michael Driscoll after a racist post was spread via social media. Photo: Teri Enciso/Indiana Gazette

Outside Wallwork Hall, Driscoll addressed the marchers as the daylight waned. He would later praise the students “for stepping up to engage a serious issue, a hurtful issue for them, in strong, positive ways.”

He answered their questions about safety, diversity, free speech, and hate speech, but he said policies to protect students prevented him from discussing any disciplinary actions taken against the creator of the Snapchat photo or anyone who threatened that student. His underlying message was that IUP needs to do better on race relations. “To be that place that we want to be, we have to work together,” he said.

Upon students’ return from winter break, Driscoll outlined the university’s next steps on race: enhanced diversity instruction at all student and employee orientations, starting this semester; opportunities to discuss race and racism, including a university-wide symposium in April; and the appointment of two new groups—an ad hoc group, charged with reviewing policies and suggesting revisions to reinforce the need to treat others with dignity, and a President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, focused on recommending new policies, course work, training, and other activities to move the university forward.



Keep Reading»

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

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Race over Time

Theo Turner, interim director of IUP’s Center for Student Life. Photo: Keith Boyer

Theo Turner, interim director of IUP’s Center for Student Life. Photo: Keith Boyer

In Theo Turner’s opinion, the December Snapchat photo was the most significant race-related event at IUP in 20 years. A longtime member of the IUP Student Affairs Division, Turner ’95, M’98 was a student when he and an estimated 400 others marched to the Indiana Mall in February 1995 to protest its treatment of minorities.

According to Turner, store clerks kept an intrusive watch on students of color as they shopped, and mall stores wouldn’t consider minority students for jobs. The final straw, he said, was when an argument between an African American student and a mall security guard led to the student’s arrest. With some direction from sociology professor Harvey Holtz, students organized the silent march and presented mall leadership with a list of demands, including diversity training for mall employees and the hiring of more minorities.

“It was one of the most impactful events I’ve ever been a part of,” Turner said.

Now interim director of the Center for Student Life, Turner still hears stories from African American students about people crossing the street to avoid them, locking car doors as they walk by, and yelling racial slurs from vehicles—something smartphone cameras are helping them take action against.

Other groups also report discrimination.

Faculty advisor to the Muslim Student Association, Michelle Sandhoff said Muslim students find the campus and community supportive overall, but they still face challenges in finding places to pray and access to halal food, similar to the idea of kosher.

Sometimes, they hear statements associating Islam and Muslims with terrorism. “It’s offensive to be compared to terrorists, and it can feel like the community doesn’t want you here,” Sandhoff said.
Incidents like the shooting last fall of a Muslim taxi driver in Pittsburgh also make them fear for their safety, she said.

Chair of the Hispanic Heritage Council at IUP, Marjorie Zambrano-Paff said some of her Hispanic and Asian students experience discrimination because of their accents. She used the example of store clerks slowing their rate of speech or losing patience when explaining a term. “Patience and respect are the key to coming to an understanding,” she said.

She also sees the need to strengthen existing Latino organizations on campus, since many students feel they lack a hub. “After the second year, some of them come to tell me they’re moving because they don’t feel represented, and that is concerning. That is painful,” she said.

According to the UCLA study, those feelings of isolation are fairly common at schools with low diversity, or minority populations of 20 percent or less. The study showed that about 45 percent of minority students feel some level of exclusion and about 60 percent report being the target of discriminatory verbal comments. IUP’s student population is about 19 percent minority.



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Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

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Craving Connections

Melvin Jenkins led a rehearsal during an IUP Voices of Joy reunion weekend in April 2014. Photo: Keith Boyer

Melvin Jenkins led a rehearsal during an IUP Voices of Joy reunion weekend in April 2014. Photo: Keith Boyer

From his time as an undergraduate and campus minister at Penn State, Melvin Jenkins M’92 knew the connections minority students needed and often lacked on low-diversity campuses. Soon after he moved to Indiana in 1988, even before he started graduate school and embarked on a 24-year career at IUP, Jenkins engaged students in a choir that would become known as Voices of Joy.

“Spiritual life is part of the cultural experience of many students of color, and I was able to use my skills and abilities as a spiritual leader to give them a little taste of what I perceived they weren’t getting here,” said Jenkins, chair of IUP’s Developmental Studies Department.

When students asked for more, Jenkins started holding Sunday services in the HUB. Victory Christian Assembly, as the congregation became known, moved into its current location along Church Street in 1990.

Jenkins’s work with the choir and church has always been voluntary, and he thinks he was born to do it. “I can’t tell you how many people tell me, ‘If not for my connection to the church, I never would have made it,’” he said. “I think it’s priceless.”

As an undergraduate, Malaika Moses Turner ’95, M’99, D’15 immediately got involved with Voices of Joy. As the choir’s leader, Jenkins became a mentor, she said, and he could answer her questions and tell her when he thought she was out of line or needed to work harder. “He could say that to me more than anyone else could,” she said.

Now the assistant director of residential living at IUP, Malaika Turner said “relatability,” the connection with faculty and staff members of color, is something minority students at predominantly white institutions need.

“There are pockets of folks across campus who are staff or faculty of color who become point people for students of color, to try to help them navigate through the system,” she said. But with roughly 120 minority faculty and staff members (about 9.6 percent) and nearly 2,600 students of color, those point people get spread a bit thin.

Malaika Turner fills that role for many students, even on the Punxsutawney campus, where she helped open the residence hall about a decade ago. Being part of a smaller community, students of color in Punxsutawney struggle with social connections, she said, so she visits the campus weekly. She also works with Developmental Studies faculty member Luke Faust to help students who start in Punxsutawney transition to the Indiana campus in their second year.

Malaika Turner and Luke Faust help students transitioning from Punxsutawney to Indiana. Photo: Keith Boyer

Malaika Turner and Luke Faust help students transitioning from Punxsutawney to Indiana. Photo: Keith Boyer

Her husband, Theo Turner, also continues to be involved in Punxsutawney. As the campus’s assistant dean of students for seven years, he played a mentoring role, but he also set out to improve relations with the community, often perceived as unwelcoming to minority students. Turner met with police and eventually got up to 40 area businesses involved in the campus’s Family Weekend event. Soon, a number of Punxsutawney students, including students of color, began working at Walmart, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Tres Amigos, and other local spots.

“It was a matter of integrating, of doing some things to positively impact the community and give a different perspective, especially of students of color, because they’re part of that community,” he said.

While Theo Turner believes every student needs a point person or mentor, he said minority students with a “me, myself, and I” attitude, meaning they feel they need to do everything on their own, especially benefit. To this day, Turner has three mentors: Frank Cignetti ’60, M’65, his former football coach; motivational speaker Joe Martin; and Jenkins, his mentor since college.

Jenkins, who estimates he’s mentored thousands of IUP students “from all walks of life,” said a mentor’s number-one value is listening without judgment.

“It helps them just to get it out,” he said. “If they find an adult who will listen to them without being a parent or fussing over them or straightening them out, they’ll come back time and again.”



Keep Reading»

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

« First    < Previous  |  Next >    Last »

Changing the Climate

Pablo Mendoza leads IUP's Office of Social Equity. Photo: Keith Boyer

Pablo Mendoza leads IUP's Office of Social Equity. Photo: Keith Boyer

Perceptions of isolation, discrimination, and support are part of what the university is trying to measure with its Campus Climate Study. The project started with an electronic survey of students and faculty and staff members a year ago and continued this spring with interviews and focus groups coordinated by Sociology Department faculty members Melanie Hildebrandt and Melissa Swauger ’97.

Pablo Mendoza agreed to take on the climate study when he became assistant to the president for Social Equity in the summer of 2013. Mendoza has been involved in multicultural programs in higher education for more than 30 years. In fact, he had his first diversity training as a 10th grader in the San Diego Unified School District.

He expects the climate study to lead to a diversity action plan that would dictate funding decisions, programming, policy making, space allocation, hiring, and more.

“The climate study will be the benchmark from which these activities can take place,” Mendoza said. “One of our problems in this society is that we try to do things on gut instinct, but it’s hard to do anything without data.”

Mendoza expects to have a final report on the climate study in August. Initially, those findings will help inform a diversity plan his office is piloting with the College of Education and Educational Technology.

Melanie Hildebrandt, left, and Melissa Swauger conducted interviews for the Campus Climate Study. Photo: Keith Boyer

Melanie Hildebrandt, left, and Melissa Swauger conducted interviews for the Campus Climate Study. Photo: Keith Boyer

The Social Equity office is also working with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to pilot a bias-recognition program. This project targets any unconscious bias people have of who will “fit in” in their department, Mendoza said. “It becomes highly problematic, because people tend to hire people who are similar to themselves.”

Mendoza expects to launch the pilots in the next year and, if they work, implement them in the remaining colleges. He said about five years should be a good measure of whether the faculty has become more diverse and the university more diversity oriented. “So it’s a long-term thing,” he said.

While diversifying the faculty is aimed at helping students feel more connected at IUP, so too is a feasibility study investigating the conversion of Elkin Hall into a multicultural center. The shared center is expected to provide more space for student organization meetings and other activities.

In addition to those and other efforts at the institutional level, about 30 members of the faculty, staff, and student body came together on Martin Luther King Day to form the Racial Justice Coalition for Change.

“It shows that there are people on campus who care and who want to work to make IUP a better place,” said Hildebrandt, the coalition’s coordinator.

The group held rallies against racism in the Oak Grove at the start of the semester and organized small-group discussions in the weeks leading up to the university’s April symposium. That event’s keynote speaker is women’s studies scholar Peggy McIntosh, author of the 1989 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”



Keep Reading»

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

« First    < Previous  |  Next >    Last »

A Different Kind of Privilege

In her essay, McIntosh describes the concept of white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets” granted to white people solely on the basis of race and separate from any economic advantage. In a list of its daily effects, she includes such things as going shopping without being harassed and being late to meetings, swearing, or dressing sloppily without those behaviors being associated with her race.

The essay, along with subsequent teachings, suggests that building an awareness of what it means to be white is key to understanding the experiences of other races and, ultimately, to reducing discrimination.

“For a couple decades, we’ve lived with this color-blind ideology that if we don’t see race, there’s no racism. Or, it’s racist to talk about race,” Hildebrandt said. “I think that does a lot of damage to people who experience discrimination or bias. So I think moving away from that and starting to have those conversations is a healthy thing.”

In diversity trainings at other workplaces, Mendoza has illustrated the concept of white privilege with the “privilege walk.” Participants stand in a line, hold hands, and step forward or backward depending on his instructions.

The question that creates the greatest divide: “Can you call upon the police knowing that they will help you?” He instructs those who answer yes to take two steps forward and those who say no to take two steps back. White participants are often shocked at the results, he said.

“I believe trainings are helpful in getting majority individuals just for an hour to develop a sense of what it might be like to be a minority,” he said.

In sociology classes, Hildebrandt and Swauger use games to illustrate societal privilege. In the Neighborhood Game, developed by one of Swauger’s graduate school colleagues, Kathleen Bulger Gray, now at Elizabeth City State College in North Carolina, two teams are given resources to build a community, but the teams don’t know the game is stacked. Swauger described a well-developed community on one end and stick houses on the other when the game is over. While members of the poor team figure out they have fewer resources, she said members of the wealthy team often say they thought the other team was “playing the game wrong” or “couldn’t get along” or “didn’t try hard enough.”

In Stump the Race, Hildebrandt separates the students by race, and they come up with 10 questions about their culture they think the other teams can’t answer. “The white students really struggle to stump the other groups,” she said.

Hildebrandt uses the game to show students how much the majority controls—from whose ideas are promoted to whose news is shown to whose music gets played. “Being a minority, you kind of know how that goes,” she said.

The sociologists say their greatest gains in developing cross-cultural understanding are through immersion programs attached to the department’s Global Service Learning courses. Swauger takes a group to Jamaica, Hildebrandt to the Navajo Nation, and Susan Boser to Brazil, in collaboration with Amizade Global Service-Learning, a Pittsburgh nonprofit.

After students live with Jamaican families and build relationships with locals, they begin to see resorts and other tourist spots as artificial, Swauger said. For example, a $12 hamburger at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville loses its appeal when students see their Jamaican friends eating bagged lunches. “Students very physically experience the exclusion,” Swauger said.

“I think the university’s job is to broaden students’ perspectives that there are other lifestyles, other religions, other ways. But I also think it’s our job to help students communicate their differences of opinion. You don’t have to accept everything, but you definitely have to learn how to respect it and how to work with everyone.”

— Malaika Turner

The effects of the immersion experience can be lasting, she said. “They change majors, they get involved, they have passions they didn’t have before they went.”

In addition to Swauger and Hildebrandt, many others at IUP emphasize the need for greater support for service projects, events, organizations, and trainings that increase cultural sensitivity and create better global citizens—things they say are sorely needed in a country in which, according to the Pew Research Center, minorities will be the majority by 2050.

“I think the university’s job is to broaden students’ perspectives that there are other lifestyles, other religions, other ways,” Malaika Turner said. “But I also think it’s our job to help students communicate their differences of opinion. You don’t have to accept everything, but you definitely have to learn how to respect it and how to work with everyone.”

Most agree that the first step in building this understanding is communication, which starts with the events and conversations going on this spring.

Driscoll emphasized the need to create “safe spaces” for these conversations to encourage open reflection. “We need to find ways to talk honestly about our own experiences and really listen, without being judgmental, to other people’s experiences, so we can start to get a feel for others’ paths through their lives. It’s fundamental to how we come together and learn and go forward.”



Keep Reading»

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

« First    < Previous  |  Next >    Last »

Open to Change

Some at IUP believe the most effective way to help people understand the experience of other races is to hear it from someone of their own race.

Jenkins thinks the best results in reducing racism will come from bringing in speakers like McIntosh; Jane Elliott, considered a diversity training pioneer with her “blue eyes—brown eyes” exercise from the 1960s; and activist and author Tim Wise.

“If you bring any big-name person of color to speak here, it would be a nice program for one day,” Jenkins said. “People would clap politely, and then they’d go about their business.”

In contrast, speakers like Elliott and Wise make people angry and uncomfortable but have the credibility to make them listen, he said.

Wise’s documentary White like Me, adapted from his book of the same name, was central to a community panel discussion in January that focused on the concept of white privilege. In the film, Wise delves into the history of advantages for white Americans, but he also connects the audience with examples of white Americans who stood up against racism—like Will D. Campbell, who joined black students in 1957 as they walked amid threats and insults into the newly integrated Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools, or Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, who sat with African Americans protesting segregation at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, while onlookers hurled food, condiments, and insults at them.

One of the panel’s participants, Shirley Howard Johnson ’75, M’80, a professor in the IUP Early Childhood/Special Education program, suggested that white people should not feel guilty about the privilege they receive. Instead, they should think about what they can do with it to empower others.

A longtime administrator in Indiana County public schools, Johnson talked about working for 17 years as a counselor in the Penns Manor School District, a rural district that had no other employees of color at the time she was hired. “Somebody said, ‘You know what? I need five votes for this to happen,’ and somebody came forward and used their privilege, their power, to help empower me to be able to change the lives and to interact in the lives of children,” she said. “So that’s one way we can look at it as a positive. Yes, it exists, accept it, and what can you do with it?”

Since her December graduation, Yasmeen Stephens returned to Philadelphia and is matching children in foster care with adoptive families for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. As a sociology graduate, she’s familiar with the advantages of having someone of the same race help a person empathize with another race. But her personal experience has shown her that she, as an African American woman, can help bridge that gap with the majority as well.

She gave the example of a relationship she developed with a lab professor.

“I went the extra mile, and I think that in her typical interactions with minority students, she saw a lack of guidance or lack of effort,” she said. “I didn’t show her that. I showed her that I was trying.”

She said she and the professor are still friends.

“To change a person’s perspective, I think sometimes it just takes a little bit of closeness,” she said. “But the other person has to be open, too.”

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

Message from the President

IUP is not an exception to incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. “If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.”

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | Milestone Generosity | Letters to the Editor

Web Exclusive

Losing the Original Leonard
When the original Leonard Hall caught fire, two Indiana State Teachers College students, back early from Easter break, happened by and contacted authorities. Now in their mid-80s, those students share their memories.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"What is one thing you teach or have taught that you think will be gone from lesson plans 15 years from now?"

Seeing Campus from Afar

The recently redesigned IUP website shows off the campus with two new features: a set of virtual tours and an interactive map.

Keith School: It Was Personal

Before college classes convened in Keith Hall, it was a school in which fledgling teachers practiced their craft. Keith School graduate Karen Gresh takes a look back.

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