Moving Past Racism: UMD Promoting Diversity

Posted at: 10/25/2012 6:16 PM
Updated at: 10/25/2012 7:26 PM
By: Travis Dill

The University of Minnesota Duluth pushed to make it's campus more inclusive after several negative incidents in the last few years.

In 2010 two white students mocked an African-American student in a facebook conversation. Last fall, a Youtube video showed a heated exchange between the former president of the Black Student Association and a Youth for Western Civilization member. And in February students chanted racist phrases during a hockey game.

“Those things unfortunately happen, and it's one of the things we're trying to address and to make it clear that those are the kinds of behavior that we do not condone and that are not acceptable,” Chancellor Lendley Black said.

Since the incidents, the university has been the site of several rallies to promote inclusiveness, and Black has made the issue a priority in the university's strategic plan.

The university held over a dozen workshops for the event, and Black says it will help students become globally aware.

“With the world we live in that's becoming more and more multicultural, that's becoming more international all of our students, to be successful, need to know how to deal well with people of difference,” Black said.

Nancy Barcelo, Ph.D. is the president of Northern New Mexico College and a leader in equity and diversity in higher education. Barcelo was the summit's keynote speaker on diversity, and she says UMD has made progress on the issue.

“I think they're on the right track, and they're playing a key role just in the state of Minnesota in my opinion,” Barcelo said.