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Virtual Discussion Focuses on Creating an Anti-Racist System at SIU

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The SIU System's Conversation of Understanding series continued Wednesday with a discussion on Creating an Anti-Racist system.

A panel from the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses discussed several topics, including is it possible to build an anti-racist system?

SIU-C graduate school assistant dean Rose Morose says it is possible because we have no choice in order to further our society. But, she admits it will take many people to join the effort.

"We need a critical mass. The more people we get who are committed the easier it becomes. Not to say it will ever be easy. When you have a huge load, it lightens the load when there are many, many people sharing it with you."

J.T. Snipes is President of the SIU-E Black Faculty Staff Association. He agrees the more people on board, the better. But, he's doubtful a grassroots effort can be sustained to support the institution.

"I'm concerned we may have too many folks that are only concerned with being perceived as not racist as opposed to actively anti-racist."

A pair of students in the SIU System took part in Wednesday's Conversation of Understanding.

They were directly asked about what policies they would like SIU to put in place become an anti-racist institution.

Jacideah Nunnery is a junior at SIU-E and is co-secretary for the National Association of Colored Women's Club. She says SIU needs to offer a more diverse curriculum.

"Open the idea of having more black classes and just opening the idea of having students come to these freshmen classes and share their experiences. Just be a mentor to the younger freshmen because it really starts with the younger generation."

SIU System Vice President of Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sheila Caldwell says anti-racist policies start with transparency.

"So, when you can't get certain information and things are kept in the dark, to me that's one way that we know that maybe this is a racist policy. If you can't tell everybody, if you can't shout it from the rooftops, then we know we have to pay attention to that."

Caldwell says system leaders have agreed to require all SIU faculty, staff and students to undergo mandatory diversity and inclusion training starting in October 2022.

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