Creating Inclusivity on Cabrini's Campus & Beyond!

Preparing          Underrepresented   Mentees for Progress at Cabrini

PUMP @Cabrini is a peer mentoring and pre-orientation program designed to support first year minority student with their adjustment to Cabrini College. This program familiarizes first year students with Cabrini and the diversity in our campus and student activities. Upperclassmen students are here as resources to help new students step out of their comfort zone to adapt both academically and socially.

Students who attend PUMP@Cabrini have the opportunity to move into the residence halls early, start meeting upperclassmen that attend Cabrini and get familiar with the campus and the surrounding communities!

GOALS:

  • To affirm the experiences of students of color and first-generation students.
  • Assist these students with adjusting to the nuances f addressing issues of difference on campus.
  • To provide additional support and engagement to African American 1st year students to assist with their adjustment to Cabrini College.
  • Assign entering (1st year) African American students a peer mentor who can engage with them to absorb some of the “culture shock” during their adjustment period.

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Our campus recently had “An Evening of Dialogue” where we came together to discuss the way bias related language, racial epithets and other slurs are unacceptable on our campus.  Well, just this week, a student visited the Office of Student Diversity to share with the director the “lingering affects” of the use of the “n” word on him/her.  The student explained that since the Evening of Dialogue, they continue to hear this offensive language….even from their peers.  The student came prepared….they shared a personal reflection they wrote after trying to confront a peer for their constant use of this offensive language.  We share that reflection with you below.  We’ve edited it for space — but it still gives all of us more than enough to ponder.

As our writer below says, the “n” word “rattles and bellows, echoes almost in my chest.” There’s a REASON we struggle before printing it — it has an impact.

Please feel free to respond (respectfully), either through comments here or privately to the Diversity Initiatives Office. 

 

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 The “n” word…

 Whether it’s with an “a” or an “er” at the end…

it seems to have the same effect on me.

It doesn’t matter who says it, or its context, it’s all the same.

The word rattles and bellows, echoes almost in my chest. 

 

(The “n” word) is like…salt in a wound…

 How about those situations when it’s done in a casual way?

How do I confront someone in a group of people who bring it up in this subversive racist way?

 And what about their response?

Dealing with the unbearable…”so Black people can say it, but I can’t”? 

Or “well, it’s in all the rap songs.” 

Or even…”I didn’t say NIGGER, I said NIGGA.”  

It’s become so “normal.” What changes can I, one person make. Sometimes I feel silly when saying to someone not to say it. I feel like I have no right. 

 The word causes this deep-rooted damage.

Whether used intentionally to harm or not…

 How about when someone has it embedded in their vocabulary? When it’s their normal? It’s “okay” to them? Can I say anything at all.  It becomes hard to stick up for yourself sometimes, or even just to stand up for what’s right…

 After situations, time and again, I’m stuck thinking “I should have said”…

 I HAVE A THIN SKIN…

 This makes me feel helpless.

 This word is a HATE word.

There’s no changing the meaning of it…

 I know that most episodes aren’t racist. 

They’re an example of a cavalier attitude.

An insensitivity to the fact that when a Black person

hears that word, then it’s difficult.

 It’s a word with consequences.

 (How about  Blacks who use it around whites? What does that say to them?)

 How about words like “fag” or things of that nature.

People tend to censor their language around gay people b/c they don’t want to offend them. …am I wrong to expect a natural censorship especially from friends or acquaintances?

 These are all things I think about…It’s changed my life. 

 Where do I start? How can I make a change? An impact?

Can I even do these things?

Am I strong enough?

What about the backlash?

Will I lose friends?

Is it worth it?

 I DON’T KNOW!

 

 

 

 

 

Interfaith Movie Afternoons

We live in a time of increasing ethnic and cultural diversity. Our religious diversity is also increasing, particularly with the rise of the ‘nones” or the non-affiliated. This group now constitutes almost 20 percent of the United States population,and an even more substantial percentage among the Millenials, as noted in this National Public Radio story.

A fuller treatment of the changes in religious affiliation (or lack of it) can be found on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life website.

Knowing that our campus is committed to being a safe place for conversations about difference, the Student Diversity Initiatives office at Cabrini College  is launching a movie series, “Interfaith Movie Afternoons,”  that will provide a place for conversation about religious differences, histories, and similarities. You’ll also have an opportunity to share what’s going on in your journey!

Our first movie, a documentary about a group of Muslim comedians, is called “Allah Made Me Funny.” It will be screened November 19 at 3;30pm in the basement room of the library.

The second movie in our series, “Beware of Christians” is a classic  “road-trip” movie with a twist.. Tackling topics like alcohol, materialism, sexuality and entertainment, the movie looks at what happens when four Christian guys go to Europe to ask “big questions” about the meaning of life.  We’ll be showing “Beware of Christians” November 26 at 3:30, also in the library.

 

The movie series will be concluded with a trip, sponsored by the English department, to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) on December 3rd.  Faculty from the English department will meet student’s in Jazzman’s ( at 4:30pm) and depart campus (at 5:00) for dinner and a movie.  The group will travel to the BMFI for a screening of “District 9″, a fantastic sci-fi allegory about race.

Whatever your faith, or lack of faith, you are more than welcome. Come for the movie, grab a snack, and stay for a little informal conversation after the show. We hope to continue this series next semester. Your insights and feedback will shape where we go next.

The interfaith conversation is NOW.Come be a part of it.

“Diversity Desserts”

This year the Diversity Initiatives Office launched a series of informal conversations on diversity topics of concern here on campus, nationally and abroad.

“Diversity Desserts,” a series of informal conversations informed by current events and issues, will be held at 2 o’clock in the lounge outside the Office of Student Diversity. Lasting an hour, and accompanied by tasty treats, it will be facilitated by Elizabeth Evans. If you haven’t met Elizabeth yet, (read an earlier post about her here) she is a graduate intern from West Chester University.

The series will continue on a bi-weekly basis through the semester, except when there is a conflict with a holiday (as in the Thanksgiving break).

We’ll begin on October 10th with a discussion of the current experience of Hispanic students at Cabrini College.

In future weeks, we’ll discuss topics like how to practice respect online in a diverse environment, and navigating religious differences. Ideas for new topics are always welcomed and considered.

Please contact Elizabeth at Bellettrelliz@gmail.com for more information, questions or feedback!

Sometimes the past provides a useful window into the present. Fifty years ago, African-American student James Meredith was the first black student   to integrate the University of Mississippi after a hostile, and deadly confrontation between Federal representatives and state segregationists.

Now students in an honors class at the university wrestle with what occurred on their campus well before they were born.

As this recent NPR story story from the Ole Miss campus illustrates, much has changed since Meredith had to be taken to his classes by federal marshals — yet the legacy of the past weighs heavily on some students.

As it does at Cabrini.

Our campus is just 55 years old.  But we are also dealing with some present-day pervasive race issues that we aren’t  comfortable discussing in public. Although our campus doesn’t have the history of segregation and desegregation that Ole Miss students are studying, students here do have connections to some other racially-tinged history that is evocative — and not easily forgotten.

That history may be as close as the person sitting across the table from you at lunch.

For example –  Ariel “Cali ” Brown is a junior at Cabrini.  Her grandfather was blinded by a white minister when he was only 12 years old. (check out his website here!) On March 19, 1952, a white minister shot at him and a group for friends.   Fast forward to 2011 —  Cali is now a sophomore who has been called a “nigger” while walking on the Cabrini College campus. She calls her grandfather to express her hurt and he is remarkably “unmoved” and not a bit surprised.  After she is done talking to her grandfather, Cali is left to process the experience: how will it affect her life as a student at Cabrini?  What impact does her grandfather’s life have on Cali as she now copes with her own experience of racism?

This derogatory word is used on this campus more often that one might think. Perhaps you have been a target — or an object of other derogatory words.  Yet many students appear oblivious to the ever present self-segregation that plays out as they sit in class, gather in Cav’s Corner or Jazzman’s,  study and attend parties.

 

Another sign of the self segregation at Cabrini — the Black Student Union plans one response to the use of this offensive racial epithet, and the Student Government another.  Yet one of the lessons of the great crusades for social change of the 20th-century, like the Civil Rights, anti-war and women’s movements,  is that positive change occurs when people work together.

    Here are some questions for us to ponder:
  • What does this story tell you about changes in racial attitudes?
  • Can we learn from history, even if it reflects pain we might like to blot out?
  • What do you wish would change on this college campus, if anything?
  • How far do you think we have come?
  • How much further do we have to go?

Please offer comments and reflections here. We’re most interested in what you have to say.

Cabrini Rocking the VOTE!

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The countdown is on!

Are you racing for time? Do you even know what you should be preparing for? VOTING!!!

Get registered if your not, spread the word if you are!

The Problem?

Our voices aren’t heard unless we are registered to vote. Policies won’t change. Even though college students are the future of America, we will be an after thought if we are not pressing the ballots on Election Day.

Despite your party of choice, democrat, republican, independent or liberal, registering to vote is ideal. Our demographic group needs to be prominent in this prime season of change.

Not Convinced? Still not sure what to do?

 The SEaL Office has registration forms for Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and will mail your forms for FREE!

To participate in the 2012 Pennsylvania General Election, register by October 9, 2012.  If your information is NOT sent in by that date , you will not be able to vote in this year’s election. Your power to vote will not kick in until the next primary, special, municipal or general election.

Seal has the key information that you need to know!

“You can register to vote by mail in two ways:

  • · Get a Voter Registration Mail Application form from the state or federal government. The Secretary of the Commonwealth and all county registration commissions supply Voter Registration Mail Applications to all persons and organizations who request them, including candidates, political parties and political bodies and other federal, state and municipal offices.
  • · Download the Voter Registration Application. Print, complete, sign and deliver to your County Voter Registration Office by mail or in person.  You can also pick one up in the SEaL Office, fill it out and THEY  WILL MAIL IT FOR YOU.

Already Registered to Vote in your Home State?  Get an absentee ballot!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR Cabrini….ROCK THE VOTE!

 Written by,

 Jessica Regina

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Hi, I’m Elizabeth Evans, a graduate student at West Chester in the Master of Counseling in Higher Education degree program.  This year, I’m privileged to be working in the Student Diversity Office providing more resources and services to the Cabrini student body.

A bit about myself:

First of all, thank you for such a warm Cabrini welcome.  Since I arrived (I found the dining hall fast!), you all have been gracious, helpful and friendly.

A few “fast facts” about me:

  • I’m a journalist.  I write a religion column, write feature stories, and review books for outlets like the Philadelphia  Inquirer.
  • I’m also an ordained minister, but I’m not going to go all preachy on you. Trust me.
  • In addition to being a writer and a pastor, I’m the proud mother of two teenagers who attend school in the Downingtown School District.
  • I hope to work on a college campus in a job that puts my skills as a counselor, advisor and communications generalist to good use.

A bit about what I’ll be doing:

This year I hope to gain an overall working knowledge of diversity issues in higher education.  Though I’ll be working on some special projects (particularly on interfaith relationships in collaboration with the Campus Ministry office), my main focus will be working with Stephanie as she advises students and clubs.  In addition, I hope to be a special assistant in terms of office work flow, learn about academic advising, and work alongside the Director in any situations that may arise in which my help is needed or appropriate. I am already fast at work planning several upcoming campus events. I hope you will join me for a new initiative called “Diversity Desserts with Liz” every other Wednesday (to begin October 10th) where I will be leading discussions on topics of interfaith, diversity, LGBT issues, our campus climate and more! And the best part is….there will be desserts!

I’m here almost all day on Mondays and Wednesdays, and in the morning on Thursdays (and for special projects).  My email address is Bellettrelliz@gmail.com. . Poke your head in and say hello.  I’m looking forward to meeting you!

 

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