Saturday, September 18, 2021

Let’s stay uncomfortable, PSUC

Last week Plattsburgh State got uncomfortable, and the plan for the future is to stay uncomfortable.

In an open discussion with President John Ettling and other faculty members Wednesday night, PSUC students were assured changes will be made in the future for a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

At this point, people were tired of hearing things like, “We gotta do something,” and “Our values are such…”

That’s all just talk. Sure, the forum did reiterate the ideals and values of the campus, but finally, action was being taken.

Ettling said the Multicultural Alliance will be reinstated on campus. Chief Diversity Officer J.W. Wiley, of the PSUC Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion, said the Multicultural Alliance isn’t just for the coming together of blacks and white — it’s for everyone.

Up until Wiley said that, I didn’t realize how diverse of a person I am. I’m white, male, Irish, Italian and skinny. I’m all about joining this alliance.

Another plan of action that impressed me was faculty involvement.

Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Service Michael Morgan said his faculty will begin two week rotations into Wiley’s Examining Diversity Through Film class.

Throughout my college career, fellow students have said, “Try to take a class with J.W. before you graduate.” I’m going to be a second semester senior in the spring, and now I’m finally taking them up on their suggestion.

I’m currently waitlisted for Examining Diversity Through Film — fingers crossed. If and when I get there, I hope to see professors and other faculty and staff members participating in the class as well.

After all the members of the panel had spoken, the floor was opened up for questions and comments from attendees.

A man who I plan to have a close relationship in the future, Professor Chahbaz Azarkadeh, of the physics department, said: “The scientific fact is that if we go back generations, enough generations, and we find out we are all coming from one humanity. You take two people from anyplace in the world and go back 50 generations, you are cousins.”

This wasn’t just an emotional or heartfelt sentiment, Azarkadeh made it clear that we physically and scientifically are all in this together.
Because of these concrete facts, I felt so much more of a concern to be involved with this current equality movement.

The only problem that concerned me and most of the other attendees was how effective these actions will be.

Sure, all the people at the meeting agree with these policies and are willing to participate, but what about the PSUC community members who aren’t involved with the diversity movement? How do we “engage” them?

The answer isn’t simple.

It’s not going to be someone else who has to influence you. You have to want be a part of an ever growing and diversifying community.
The choice is yours.

Email Griffin Kelly at

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