Diversity and Inclusion Flourishes at KSU
The diversity and inclusion beat focuses on Kent State University’s professional goal of representing and engaging all sexes, orientations, races and ethnicities equally and consistently on campus and within the larger KSU community.
Media focuses on development of campus initiatives, student groups and involvement, campus safety, special events whose primarily target are at-risk groups such as LGBTQ, women and other ethnic/racial minorities and exploring how KSU’s proficiencies and lack relate to diversity and inclusion issues on a broader (state and national) scale.
Key decision-maker within the field, Heather Adams, Executive Director of Women’s and Gender Centers Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’s main goal is to create a meaningful, safe environment for all students by initiating and sustaining meaningful relationships and collaborations between campus and community groups whose resources and goals center around the same, humanist vision. A typical work day for Adams consists of multiple meetings with supervisors and supervises, miscellaneous individuals and work groups.
Adams has oversight of three different areas: 1. Women’s Center that develops and plans services and advocacy for female students, staff and faculty including the advancement and quality of the educational experience of women at the university. 2. The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SERVS) that helps give services to students that have been a victim of sexual violence of some kind e.i. stalking, interpersonal violence, sexual assault. 3. The LGBTQ Student Center, focusing on other parity and equity issues.
“A lot of the issues of the students, faculty and staff we serve overlap and it really comes down to a large extent with helping [these groups] in times of crisis and also helping provide services, education and programming on a wide variety of different issues. I think that the three groups we serve tend to have challenges that are specific to the population. You’ve got to be specialized in those areas to help those populations. That’s why we have centers. Minority students often happen to have needs that are better met by if it’s coming from a specialized center.”
I asked Adams how she would describe the word diversity to a new student who had never heard the word before:
“The division defines it as the presence of difference. You know…we really are stronger if we don’t all look alike.”
Adams received both her bachelor’s of arts in individual and family studies and her master’s degree in liberal studies from Kent State University.
Diversity and Inclusion is dense with hard-hitting story ideas about pervasive issues in equality and parity, KSU’s diversity and how it impacts safety on a college campus and how these local issues prove to include our campus in statewide and national trends. People in minority groups still suffer from incredible disadvantages in our society. Regardless of whether they are in college or not, these disadvantages are so deeply rooted that there are entire staffs hired to attack these problems every day. Many people do not even know these help centers and staffs exist. Growth in a variety of important areas will be increasingly important to adding sources to my stories and giving them a true human interest point. Aim of beat: to bring awareness and give a voice to populations who often are neglected in media.
1. Kent State University Women’s Center focusing on the rapid loss of reproductive rights in the state of Ohio. Center wants to start a dialogue and student group who are interested in working on a student-run initiative against unconstitutional legislation.
2. Headed by SERVS office, Green Dot is a bystander intervention program that is being publicly introduced to KSU on September 24th. Green Dot is about students taking control of the violence that is within the sphere where adults are not present (parties, bars, residence halls). “Picture a map,” said Adams, “every time there is an incident of sexual assault a little red dot pops up. The incidence is really high. It’s 1 in 6 women on a college campus. The idea is to bring training to students so they can do green dots to combat all those red dots on the map.” Consists of full-day training. Available to individuals and groups on campus. Undergraduate Student Government is undergoing the training in the near future.
3. EVENT: Special guest speaker Lavern Cox from Orange is the New Black. Headed by the Student Multicultural Center, all three of Adams’ office. November 4th.
4. LGBTQ Student Center is in search of a new director. End of September. New Staffing, growth.
—-Ongoing story, interviews, what are they looking for in a candidate, what new projects can we look forward to. What do the LGBTQ groups want in a leader?
5. Why aren’t women with careers in higher education having as many children? Is this statistic exhibited on our campus? 25% of women with careers in higher education choosing not to have children at all. Why? What issues are women facing today that they were not facing before? Why is there such a stigma attached to women who do not have children, women who do? Balancing traditional roles.
—- research longitudinal studies.
6. EVENT: MMM (Mothers, Mentors and Muses). Keynote speaker Beverly Warren. Honors women of excellence across the university system. Faculty and Staff.
—-Attend event, interview attendees/winners, narrate brief history of women of excellence on KSU campus.
7. Inequality of women salaries with male salaries on KSU campus in relation to other universities. Adams said, “It’s not just Kent State. It’s everywhere.”
8. Growth of feminism on KSU campus. Women’s Studies have added classes, growing popularity.
—-Interviews with directors/ people’s opinions
9. A growing male interest in issues of sexual violence and women’s issues.