Updated: Feb 23, 2021
As Black History Month draws to a close, there is a looming question over Salisbury University: Is our college doing enough to promote a diverse and welcoming community on our college campus?
Kirstyn Dugger is the President of Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Black Student Union. She had a few comments on the diversity and inclusion of Black students and faculty at Salisbury University.
She says that diversity and anti-racism at SU have improved over the years. However, subtle forms of racism and exclusion are still present.
After asking Dugger if SU is a welcoming and diverse campus, she responded that “[she] only feels truly welcome with other people of color at Salisbury University. There has been some improvement with the way we are treated, but there is still a long way to go.”
Dugger also provided some suggestions on how to help improve the solidarity of all students and staff at SU. She would like to see improved diversity trainings of the staff and a new general education class focused on the history of racism and discrimination in Salisbury.
“I cannot fault students for what they are not taught in the classrooms,” Dugger said.
Salisbury University needs to discuss uncomfortable topics that are not being addressed.
It should not take racial graffiti written on the walls of SU buildings, or an SU staff member making a racial slur at a university-sponsored event, to trigger these discussions. The staff member has since apologized, but this an example of the bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Discourse about the status of racial discrimination at Salisbury University should occur every day to prevent such occurrences from becoming the norm.
Progression is no longer progression if it comes to an end. Staying informed and sharing available resources to uninformed SU students can help spread solidarity in our community.
Salisbury University established the Social Justice, Equity and Teaching Transformation Faculty Learning Community (SETT-SU FLC) to discuss classroom concerns and university-wide issues related to diversity.
The SETT-SU FLC collaboratively seeks out resources and compiles them for the use of the SU community.
This guide includes a variety of books, podcasts, videos, films and television series which can be found on the Diversity and Inclusion Resources page at the SU Libraries website.
Salisbury University needs to be a welcoming community that treats everyone equally. The only way to reach true equality in the future is by learning from the past and continually taking steps to improve how we treat people in the present.
Progression is not progression without continual change. More can and must always be done.
By JACK FIECHTNER
Staff photo by Brad Boardman.