Though the event was held virtually, with panelists spaced out inside Lander’s Finis Horne Arena and viewers tuning in via Microsoft Teams, the Lander University Diversity Advisory Council’s panel discussion on justice, diversity, equity and inclusion was well attended by Lander’s campus community.
The event was moderated by London Thomas, Director of Human Resources at Lander University. Panelists consisted of Lander University faculty and staff, as well as members of the surrounding community, including:
•Dr. Demario Watts, Director of Student Activities
•Fathima Nazim-Starnes, Associate Professor of Art
•Jalysa Green, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards
•Selynto Anderson, Director of Occupational Health Services at Self Regional Healthcare
•Steve Coleman, Director of Genesis Initiatives at Piedmont Technical College
•Teresa Goodman, Executive Director of Community Initiatives, Inc.
How members of Lander’s campus community value all forms of diversity on campus was an important part of the discussion.
Dr. Watts said it is important to make sure that every person in the room is heard. “I think sometimes our voice gets lost in a number of different conversations and meetings on campus,” said Watts. “There’s a lot of value in taking time to make sure that we are listening to every person in the room.”
Professor Nazim-Starnes emphasized the importance of celebrating the diversity that exists on Lander’s campus. “I think that one of the amazing things we’ve done on the Diversity Advisory Council is we’ve looked at different ways to try and celebrate different cultures.” One of the ways mentioned was selections of foods from different countries by the Lander Dining Hall. “I think it begins with education, trying to defy stereotypes, and breaking the mold of what defines one culture over another,” Nazim-Starnes said.
This panel discussion was only the most recent event of the semester, and the Diversity Advisory Council looks forward to hosting more discussions, forums and educational opportunities throughout the 2020/21 academic year.