RISE Chat to talk inclusivity in higher education

Zoë Donovan, Staff Reporter

Eastern students and faculty can attend RISE Chat: Race and Our Society for free on Monday to learn about increasing inclusivity on campus.

It takes place at 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Buzzard Auditorium.

The chat follows MEI’s annual Reaching Inclusivity for Student Excellence Conference that took place Saturday, Oct. 12.

The event will open with a showing of a clip from the 1994 documentary, “The Color of Fear,” which sees eight men of varying ethnicites and races discussing the state of race relations in the U.S.

A panel discussion will follow the showing of the documentary, and the panelists will ask the audience to join in the discussion.

“Panelists will speak candidly about race, and audiences will have the opportunity to share their own experiences as well as challenge conceptions of others,” said Catherine Polydore, an associate professor of educational psychology. “We believe that as an institution of higher learning that those spaces should not only be created, but they should also be inclusive, where all voices are welcome, as long as they recognize and respect the voices of others.”

Panelists include:

Carole Rene’ Collins Ayanlaja, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Eastern: She is currently working on research that focuses on the intentionality of race and gender in modern society.

Jim Howley, director of the B.A. in general studies degree program at Eastern: He is a sociologist with an interest in issues related equity.

Navid Farnia is a visiting instructor in the history department. His research focuses on the relationship between racial oppression and U.S. foreign policy since the 1960s.

Samira Abdoulaye Pedila is a student panelist. She is a senior psychology major. Abdoulaya Pedila hopes to become an immigration lawyer, and she is currently the vice president of student affairs.

Sami Boomgarden is a graduate student panelist in Eastern’s clinical psychology program. Boomgarden is planning to become a licensed counselor following her graduation.

Morgan Howard, public relations major, is the final student panelist for the event.

The Rise CHAT is free for Eastern students and faculty and $20 for community members.

The idea to continue the event over to a dialogue came after the first RISE conference after the topics from that day carried over into the lunch with members of the Making Excellence Inclusive staff.

Zoë Donovan can be reached at 581–2812 or at [email protected].