Diversity on IUS campus discussed

IUS Horizon

Darlene Young
Darlene Young

The present status of diversity on the IUS campus was the topic discussed at University Center North on Thursday, Oct. 23.

Darlene Young, affirmative action team member at IU Southeast, opened the discussion to an audience of more than 30 interested staff, faculty and students.

The meeting was a follow up to questions and concerns raised during an April 2008 town hall meeting.

“One criticism we’ve received is that we make plans to share information, but we don’t implement it,” Young said.

While using a screen backdrop with information, Young told the audience about the glass case in the breeze-way of the University Center  that has been put there to display different information each month about a nationally recognized case of diversity.

“This is educate staff, faculty and students,” Young said.

Updates in campus life were also discussed. It had previously been brought up, that some students didn’t feel safe on campus and an effort had been made for student organizations to work together.

The creation of safe zones for lesbian, gay and transgender students on campus was another topic that got attention.

“It’s important they have contact with people and resources they can trust,” Young said.

She mentioned one incident where a student complained of racial profiling by the IUS police.

“He was helping another student get inside his locked vehicle with a clothes hanger,” Young said.

Young said students need to be aware of the help campus police can provide to students.

“They can help you jump a car battery, assist with a flat tire and unlock your vehicle,” she said. “Information like these needs to be put in the student planner.”

Sheying Chen, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, talked about disability services and harassment issues in college.

“In the past we’ve had complaints some faculty members have not been sensitive to diversity issues,” Chen said.

Young said the IUS faculty is more diverse than the other seven IU campuses.

“Eight percent of the student body here at IUS are minorities,” Young said.

She said that since the university does take money from the federal government, there are certain laws that go with that.

“Even though Indiana has no law prohibiting discrimination about sexual orientation, it’s university policy not to discriminate regardless,” Young said.

“We also need to create more safe zones for multi-cultural students on campus, to get them to the right place,” she said.

Kimberly Pelle, coordinator of the Adult Student Center, said students need to know what the safe zone is, before it could do them any good.

Copies of the IU Southeast Grievance Process for Students were passed out to members of the audience.

The chart showed a detailed procedure of five different steps a student grievance goes through, from initial contact, a complaint filed, a fair and neutral mediation, advise of decision rendered and authority to discipline.

Staff Writer