by ROSE BRENNAN, A&E Editor
In an effort to expand and reprogram diversity training, the Manhattan College Office of Diversity, Equity and Title IX held an open forum where students and faculty could share their ideas on the matter.
The meeting was held on Friday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. in Kelly Commons 4A and was facilitated by Sheetal Kale, MC’s chief Title IX coordinator and director of diversity and equity, her assistant Lindsey Lopez and Tiffany French, assistant dean of students. Representatives from Student Engagement, the Multicultural Center and the Student Veteran Organization were also in attendance.
The main goal of the meeting was to gain an understanding of programming the Manhattan College community would like to see in regards to promoting diversity and equity.
“We have quite a diverse student body that may not be as represented as they could be, and so that’s what I’d like to do: schedule programming, bringing people together to talk about these kinds of issues,” Kale said.
One event Kale mentioned was hosting Shane Bauer, author of “American Prison: A Reporter’s Journey into the Business of Punishment.” Bauer went undercover as a prison guard in a Louisiana prison in order to write the book, and would be slated to discuss issues with mass incarceration, such as racism and privatization within prisons.
The discussion was opened up to those in attendance, who aired several concerns and proposed several ideas about new programming centering around diversity and equity. Hayden Greene, director of multicultural affairs, proposed programming addressing food insecurities on campus and in New York City as a whole.
“Also linked in with food insecurity are the issues of homelessness that we don’t see but do exist on the campus,” Greene said. “It’s ratcheted its way up higher and higher on my priority list and it’s pretty close to the top now.”
Jamie Foley, vice president of the Student Veteran Organization (SVO), was interested in seeing how the club could contribute to the discussion surrounding diversity and equity on campus. Foley personally wanted diversity programming to address the stigma surrounding student veterans.
“A lot of people see us as damaged; they think PTSD, first thing,” Foley said. “Yeah, we may have had experiences that go above and beyond that of an average college student but we are not all damaged. We are not all broken.”
Tiana Sloan, director of veterans’ success, mentioned having “academic panels” once a semester that focused on certain groups in the military, mentioning minorities in the military, women in the military and engineering in the military. Sloan said the panels were effective in beginning a dialogue between students and student veterans.
“Because we are trying to bridge that gap, one thing we might be able to work with this group on is … trying to create the dialogue between different student groups to help that understanding,” Sloan said.
This semester, the SVO is planning to host a panel focusing on women in the military.
“We did [women in the military] years ago, it was really well-received, and now we have more female veterans on campus, so that’s something. And we’re also in the discussion of having a panel about immigrants in the military, because quite a few of our student veterans are not American-born,” Sloan said.
One idea, proposed by Michael Steele of Student Engagement, was to find more ways to connect students to Manhattan and other areas of the city. Steele mentioned his office could be a liaison between the two, with which Kale agreed.
“We are in the city, and I think … it’s really important to connect with the issues people care about in the city as well,” Kale said.
Though the event was attended by 11 people, each person came to the event with a different background and experience and contributed to the question raised by the office of diversity and equity.
Follow The Quadrangle for continued coverage of new events hosted by the office of diversity, equity and Title IX.