Thinking differently

First part of Diversity Forum allows Warhawks to share experience

Shannan Lojeski, Assistant News Editor

“Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable” was a phrase used throughout this year’s Diversity Forum.

From Sunday Oct. 7 to Tuesday Oct. 9, the forum included a presentation from keynote speaker Dr. Michael Torrence, workshops, student-led panels and more. The fall 2018 Diversity Forum at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater focused on civil discourse and how to communicate appropriately with others who have different opinions.

“As a member of the Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Committee, I am excited that we have been able to successfully launch the first part of our new initiatives to increase our campus-wide engagement in diversity and inclusion,” said Jess Clayton, committee member and Policy and Planning analyst for Institutional Research & Planning.

Ozalle M. Toms, director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives with the College of Education and Professional Studies, led a workshop titled Civil Discourse Around Microaggressions on Monday and Tuesday at the forum.

“In my workshop and the sessions I was a part of, my goal was to connect with individuals across campus in a meaningful and intentional way. From the sessions I was a part of and some of the feedback I have received, I think this was most definitely accomplished” Toms said. “I really enjoyed my workshop and being able to connect with individuals in not such an academic way.”

When speaking on the topic of Educational Pipeline to Prison and systematic oppression in education, graduate student Holly Anderson said, “In our systems, we are constantly finding answers to the symptoms we experience, but we’re not searching for what’s causing the problems.”

As a person of color, senior Michael Lozano shared his educational experiences and the strength it gave him to become who he is today.

“Growing up I felt like a statistic. Society and school was constantly limiting me and my friends,” Lozano said. “I never want to limit myself to labels. If there were other programs provided for me in my earlier education, maybe I wouldn’t have felt the way I did.”

Toms emphasized the community aspect of the Diversity Forum.

“I fully support our committee’s decision to add a forum and agree with the idea that we need to talk about, celebrate and learn about diversity more than once a year. My hope is that students come and support this event. At the end of the day, UW-W is our campus, and it’s our home,” Toms said.