Friday, July 02, 2004


Just the opening sentence of this gave me a laugh

"Allegations of cultural insensitivity and incompetence within the University College of Education have led the school's student and faculty diversity committee to recently declare a "multicultural crisis."

Graduate student Jim Lyda, coordinator of the college's Ethnic Diversity Affairs Committee, said students of color in the college have experienced cultural insensitivity from some faculty members. He said local schools also have raised concerns that the college produces teachers who lack multicultural skills. "That's kind of what we term a crisis," Lyda said....

Shadiin Garcia, student support-services coordinator for the Sapsik'walÿ (Teacher) Education Program, said problems have existed in the college for years. But an incident during the February Career Beginnings conference, during which students learn tips for future interviews, "brought it to the forefront," she said.

At the conference, students in the college learned the importance of firm handshakes and direct eye contact when meeting with potential employers. When a student of color raised concerns that her culture does not encourage such interactions, a comment by Springfield school district's Director of Human Resources Roger Jordan was perceived to be culturally insensitive. Jordan said he had explained what he calls "the blemish effect," which is something that might distract a potential employer during the interviewing process, such as cultural differences. He said the meaning was misconstrued and that he did not intend to propose that the student's culture was a "blemish."

"My comments there caused quite a flap at the University," he said. "And that bothers me tremendously." Since then, Jordan said he has tried to improve his understanding of what it means to be culturally sensitive....

Garcia and Lyda said they did not feel comfortable listing other instances of cultural insensitivity for fear of retaliation against the students involved. "Because of the numbers (of students of color) and the nature of some of the incidents, it's difficult," Lyda said. "You always have to worry about grades or being ostracized." Forrest said she's aware that fear might exist, but she added that students have many outlets to raise complaints including the Bias Response Team and with herself...."

More here. (Via Lone Wacko).

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