Analysis: Five takeaways from Walking Together Event

It is no secret Central Michigan University has had its fair share of discrimination on and around campus. President George Ross organized a Q&A dialogue event that addressed such issues with students.

Ross, along with panelists consisting of students and faculty, gave insights into the different possible solutions and actions that can be taken to deal with issues of diversity and inclusion.

Here are the five major takeaways from this event:

  1. President Ross doesn’t have absolute power. It is easy for students to see the title university president and assume Ross can make whatever changes he wants throughout the school year. This isn’t exactly the case, as Ross pointed out during the event – he can’t simply make racism and discrimination disappear on campus.
  2. Issues of diversity have existed on this campus since long before Ross was here. At one point, Ross mentioned that he personally experienced racism in the Mt. Pleasant community, even though he’s the president of the university. Ross said, “when students tell me stories about [discrimination], I believe them because it happened to me.”
  3. No concrete answers have been given, but that’s okay. Although Ross never gave detailed plans of how to help students who feel the community isn’t always accepting of them, nobody else has answers either. This panel’s discussion was not necessarily meant to offer solutions to each and every problem, but provide a safe space to talk. Ross may have dodged several students’ questions, but he did acknowledge that he does not have all the answers.
  4. President Ross isn’t the only person on campus who is willing to address to diversity on this campus. Not only have Insider and other campus media published articles pertaining to diversity and inclusion in Mt. Pleasant recently, but there are also offices that hold panel discussions about diversity throughout the school year. Several RSO’s (Registered Student Organizations) also provide programs about diversity.
  5. This isn’t the end of the talks about diversity and inclusion on campus. Although today felt like culmination of various discussions about race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability that students have engaged in this semester, it is only the beginning of campus wide talks about issues regarding diversity. Ross said that he plans to have panels similar to this in the future, but students have been, and will continue to have, these discussions. It is the students on this campus who create the environment of inclusion that will dictate diversity talks.

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