Council of Diversity and Inclusion hosts open house to discuss diversity on campus
~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~
On Wednesday, Jan. 23, the Christopher Newport community gathered to discuss, understand and celebrate the policies of diversity and inclusion put into place to make CNU a more understanding campus and a better environment for all.
The Council of Diversity and Inclusion open house was organized by Brad Hunter, Vice Rector of CNU’s Board of Visitors and Chair of the Council, as well as a 2004 CNU alumni.
President Trible extended Hunter’s invitation to CNU students in a campus-wide email, ensuring that all would be welcome at the meeting to fill the space with all kinds of voices. Both Trible and Provost David Doughty were present at the event.
Students, staff members, faculty, alumni, community members and members of the Board of Visitors filled the second floor of the Freeman Center for an afternoon of understanding and acceptance as they gathered to discuss the measures CNU is currently taking and what else can be implemented to become a more inclusive institution.
The event was loosely structured, mainly as an opportunity for discussion and fellowship between fellow Captains. Discussions centered on how CNU can continue to be a place of acceptance and equality.
The event followed an entire week of CNU hosting events to celebrate the contributions the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made to equality and how Christopher Newport can embody those ideals moving forward.
Poster displays lined every corner, each highlighting the endeavors toward diversity CNU has undertaken as well as different events CNU has already held to emphasize the continuing mission for inclusivity on campus.
One poster recapped the events of MLK Day 2019 and discussed how the campus will observe the holiday in the future. In 2020, classes will pause for a length of time as the campus observes the holiday. Additional activities are being discussed and organized.
Another poster informed attendees of the Community Captains program. Community Captains are 10th graders who come from select Newport News high schools. These students have strong grades, test scores, and will either be the first in their family to attend college or qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The program offers multiple benefits for the high school students that provides them with crucial learning opportunities. These include a college mentorship from students, a path of acceptance into CNU and financial assistance so they can continue to attend the university.
A poster highlighted recent measures that CNU has taken to advance diversity and inclusion. These measures included Safe Zone training (which emphasizes how faculty and staff members can best support those on campus who identify as LGBTQ), regular Council of Diversity and Inclusion meetings, CNU’s partnership with Hired Hands (which prepares disabled individuals to succeed in competitive careers) and diversity and inclusion orientation for new employees.
Senior on the 2018-2019 Council for Diversity and Inclusion Phillip Patterson believes the open house was a prime time for other students to come together to make their voices heard.
“I’ve been on the Council for about a year now,” Patterson said. “This event means a lot because it’s an opportunity for students who always hear about the Council of Diversity and Inclusion to actually meet the members and talk to them directly and address problems that they have had and issues.It’s just a good way for students to have the chance to voice their concerns or things that they’re happy that we’re doing.”
The open house hosted by the Council of Diversity and Inclusion reflected the values of the Christopher Newport campus, and members of the CNU community were taught ways to make campus more inclusive.