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Conference Focuses on Diversity

October 26, 2011

Nearly 100 students from area colleges and universities came together this past weekend to explore and discuss diversity issues at the fourth annual Not Another Statistic Conference on the University of Mount Union’s campus.
 
Students from Mount Union, Ashland University, Carnegie Mellon University, Kent State University at Stark, Malone University, Stark State College and Ursuline College were in attendance. Hosted by Mount Union’s Black Student Union, Association of Women Students, Association of International Students and Gay Straight Alliance, the conference helped to break down the stereotypes of diversity through communication and education.
 
On Friday, attendees participated in an interactive diversity experience and attended a social mixer. On Saturday, Vince Watts, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Stark County Urban League, gave the keynote address. Watts explained that in today’s society, we find all types of discriminatory images, statements and political parsing that is designed to carve a wedge between group, which likely have more in common than they do in difference. He also discussed that the only way to protect the rights of an individual against the power of the majority is to band together, acknowledge differences and support the governmental mandate that each person has rights in his or her personal pursuit of happiness.
 
Mount Union students, faculty, staff and alumni presented many of the breakout sessions. Topics discussed during the breakout sessions on Saturday included:
  • Pearl Harbor and 9/11: Comparing Racial Tensions in the United States During the 1940s and 2000s
  • What Are You?
  • Men and the F-word . . . Feminism!
  • Mental Illness: Breaking the Silence
  • Where Two Worlds Meet: The Bi-Cultural Experience
  • A Gendered Stroll Through History: The Evolution of Gender Roles as We See Them
  • Prejudice and Discrimination – How Far Have We REALLY come?
  • Eric and Frank, Together 105 Years – (A Gay Man and His Life Journey . . . Are We There Yet?)
  • Around the World in 60 Minutes
  • Mean Girls: Alive and Well and Living at Your College
  • The Devastation of a Generation
Watts also presented “Things You Always Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask” during the close of the conference. He discussed how he used his personal and professional experiences as they related to diversity to strengthen his family and his community. Watts engaged the audience in conversation about stereotypes and popular perceptions that may typically be politically incorrect to talk about.
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