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ISU Expanding Diversity Discussion On Campus

Christa Platt standing in front of her office
Illinois State University
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Christa Platt began her new role as director of ISU's Multicultural Center last July.

Diversity advocates on the Illinois State University campus say one annual conference isn't enough to address inequities and racial understanding on campus.ISU's Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) has scheduled a second event specifically to discuss anti-Black racism.

CRCC chairperson and Multicultural Center Director Christa Platt said faculty have a responsibility to try to understand the Black perspective.

People seated in ballroom
Credit Illinois State University
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ISU's Culturally Responsive Campus typically holds a conference every fall, but it added a virtual spring institute this year.

Platt said students too often have to educate their classmates and instructors about equity and justice.

“The students who were making the outcry were asking faculty members to do their own work and not put the work on the students in the classroom who are paying to get this education and want a rich, holistic educational experience,” Platt said.

ISU hosts its annual conference on diversity every fall. Platt said she hopes adding a second event will help dialogue about racial inequities go further.

“One of the original goals of the conference was for it to be a year-long conversation, for it not to be just a one-time discussion, but for us to talk about equity and justice as a campus community all year long,” Platt said.

The new spring institute is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday on Zoom. It's open to ISU students, faculty and staff.

The keynote speaker will be Tyrone Howard, associate dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA. He's written extensively on how better understanding race and culture can close the achievement gap in America's classrooms.

Howard also is director for the Black Male Institute at UCLA. The organization aims to improve educational outcomes among Black men.

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Tiffani Jackson is a reporting intern at WGLT and a student at Illinois State University's School of Communication. She started working at WGLT in summer 2019.
Eric Stock is a reporter at WGLT.