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Interrogating Structural Racism on Campus

Interrogating Structural Racism on Campus

Fall 2015

By Sofya Aptekar, Sociology, Assistant Editor

This November saw an eruption of activism across university campuses, as students of color and their allies challenged deep-rooted racism in historically white colleges and universities (HWCUs), from University of Missouri to Yale. The vibrant social movements have drawn attention to the institutionalized, systemic – if nowadays more subtle – racist practices that confront not just students of color, but also staff and faculty in higher education. “Although the history and current conditions at UMB differ from places like Mizzou and Yale, structural racism is our reality as well. This fall, The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning organized a series of forums on structural racism, which fostered conversations among students, staff and faculty on this critical issue.

The series began with “Taking the Temperature: Teaching and Learning about Structural Racism.” A large crowd of mostly faculty, with some students and staff, were guided through group activities that encouraged deep conversations about racism on and off campus. The following forum featured a panel of UMB students, who spoke of their own experiences of racism on campus and their activism. These stories, many of painful experiences of discrimination, bias, and exclusion, were met with additional stories from the audience, as well as questions. Planned before student protests against racism galvanized campuses across the country, the series promises to help build crucial foundations for conversations and action in combatting racism on our campus, a fight that is key for students, faculty, and staff.

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