Last Monday, WCU Speaks hosted a panel discussion in the Sykes Student Union Ballroom. The West Chester University Office of Multicultural Affairs, LGBTQA, and Women’s Center sponsored the event and the turnout was everything it promised to be.
On the panel, a diverse group of student leaders and some of the University’s dignified faculty, such as professors and counselors, shared their thoughts and experiences as members of the community here. People of all walks of life showed up and listened in on the panel’s Q&A piece, and then had the opportunity to ask their own questions, and deliver suggestions and thoughts. [pullquote align=”center”]The point of this series of events is to get the general population of West Chester University engaged in some ideas that may seem touchy or controversial, but instead opens the floor for everyone to speak, hence the name ‘WCU Speaks.’[/pullquote]
One student asked how to best respond to a slur directed towards him regarding his sexual identity, and the panel suggested trying to educate those that may be ignorant on the various identities people prefer, but also added there is importance in staying safe, knowing yourself and learning to not be bothered by the ignorance.
Another student in the audience, towards the end of the event disclosed how he as a white student, and American in general, is tired of the long precedence of racism and social injustice towards black people and delivered a passionate message when given the microphone.
The point of this series of events is to get the general population of West Chester University engaged in some ideas that may seem touchy or controversial, but instead opens the floor for everyone to speak, hence the name, “WCU Speaks.” This way, students can freely speak about the problems they face every day and hear or offer ideas as well as potential solutions that lead to an increased positive environment on campus.
Tiffany Lane, a West Chester alumnus, undergraduate social worker here and the director of the Frederick Douglas Society, said “being in these kinds of uncomfortable discussions are the best ways to raise awareness and prompt change”.
The panel discussion is just one part of three that WCU Speaks has organized for the semester. The first event occurred a few weeks ago in early February and offered a platform for students to listen in on a pair of traveling counselors and facilitators as they recommended ways to foster diversity and inclusion on campus. The next event occurs on March 26 and will engage attendees in another way that will ultimately lead to diversity inclusion on campus.
All students are encouraged to come and bring as many friends as possible. Both the LGBTQA and Multicultural Affairs offices are open to anyone that wants to be a part of the movement or needs a place to feel secure and safe in their true identites. Feel free to email me, a peer mentor and diversity ambassador on campus, or Querida Lugo, the Office of Multicultural Affairs Assistant Director at QLugo@wcupa.edu.
Shawn Trawick is a third-year student majoring in communication studies and political science. He can be reached at ST819517@wcupa.edu.