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  • Diversity Dialogues

    diversity dialoguesDiversity Dialogues is an annual spring event sponsored by the offices of Campus Climate and Diversity, a subdivision of Student Affairs.. This event showcases some of the outstanding work being done at UW-L in regards to diversity and inclusion, featuring hourly presentations by faculty, staff and students.


    Wednesday, February 5, 2014
    UW-L Cartwright Center
    8:50 a.m. - 2:10 p.m.


    Session 1 (8:50-9:45)

    Affirmative Action Beyond the Americas (Port O’Call)

    Joshua Kraft

    Many governments worldwide attempt to address inequities between people groups of different economic, educational, gender, cultural, or religious standing in ways different than in the West. While many are familiar with our domestic policies concerning equity and affirmative action, other places around the world have different approaches; have you ever heard of the terms “Sons of the Soil”, “Other Backwards Persons”, “Employment Equity”, or “Reserved Seats”? These and other policies around the world will be examined. By exploring methods that nations outside the Western Hemisphere attempt to address equity issues, we can better understand - even appreciate - our own.

    Personal Journey Towards Cultural Competency (Valhalla A)

    Joanne Sandvick

    Cultural Competency is a personal journey. The La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium developed a website that provides steps for individuals or institutions to walk through their personal journey towards cultural competency. This website offers various resources to inform and assist with the acquisition of necessary knowledge to promote sensitivity when attempting to bridge the gaps between cultures. Our presentation will demonstrate to the audience how to navigate the website. Our goals are to introduce the audience to the site, raise their curiosity level and show how this can be used as a training tool within their work.

    Weighty Matters (Valhalla B)

    Kim Soumar

    How often have you heard something similar to: “Real women have curves!” Or “She’s just big-boned.” Or “She needs to eat a cheeseburger!” Or “She’s nothing but skin and bone.”? All of these common catchphrases about size promote body-shaming and prevent us from truly, honestly examining privilege associated with size. Our culture assigns moral value not only to food (celery is “good,” donuts are “bad”) but to health and size (thin=healthy=good). Let’s discuss reaching full body-acceptance and how to not step on others to get there.

    Session 2 (9:55-10:50)

    The Color of Fear: An interactive discussion of clips from Lee Mun Wah’s ground-breaking documentary on race in the United States (Port O’Call)

    Tracey Littlejohn, Dr. Bee Lo, Lynette Prieur Lo, Thomas Harris

    Open and honest talk about race is something many of us fear, but it is also a discussion we long to have. If you long for this conversation, please join us to discuss The Color of Fear, which covers the state of race relations as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino, and African descent. We will view and discuss clips in which intelligent, emotional, and dramatic confrontations between the participants reveal the pain and scars that racism has inflicted on them. Hopefully our discussions will lead us to a deepened sense of understanding and trust as we explore the gift of the participants’ stories. 

    • “This film inspires one to look within oneself to understand the pain of others.” ~Dr. Ghafar Lakanwai. 
    • “The Color of Fear is for anyone who wants to heal the influence of racism and move into the freedom of unconditional acceptance of all human beings.” ~Dr. Brenda Wade. 
    • “Without a doubt The Color of Fear is one of the hardest hitting explorations of race I have ever seen on film. Rich and vulnerable.” ~Matt Schwarzman

    Poverty & Women in America (Valhalla A)

    Patricia Markos

    This presentation will describe the population of women who are living in poverty in Wisconsin. Current statistics for the State will be presented including poverty by gender, race and ethnicity, reasons for poverty, families with dependent children, wage gap, and women as the breadwinner. The relationship between poverty and homelessness will also be discussed. The audience will participate in making policy recommendations to help solve the problem. 

    “I can say what I want!” - The Boundaries of Free Speech on College Campuses (Valhalla B)

    Nizam Arain

    The First Amendment protects individuals’ free speech from government infringement, but what is the extent of those protections on a college campus? Where and when do individuals have the right to “say what they want”? For students and professors in the classroom, university employees in the workplace environment, people living in residence halls, or visitors to the campus, is the First Amendment a blank check? When and how can  individual be held accountable for their words and actions in ways that don’t infringe on their constitutional rights? This session will provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss these issues and many more.

    Session 3 (11:00-11:55)

    Intercultural Understandings: 2013 Tour to India (Port O’Call)

    Student Panel moderated by Emily Johnson

    This presentation will focus on the intercultural understandings that grew out of a January 2013 Study Tour to India. Fourteen students spent a total of 8 days living with families in India, 6 days in a large city and 2 days in a rural village. We will discuss our experiences and how, even with significant language and cultural differences, we developed an appreciation for the commonalities shared across cultures and the value of these experiences for increasing awareness and appreciation of diversity in our own culture. Participants will be encouraged to help with some demonstrations and provided opportunities to ask questions.

    University Academics and Stereotypes from around the Globe (Valhalla B)

    International Student Panel moderated by Miranda Panzer

    Come join our panel discussion and learn about university academics around the globe; how they are different and/or similar. We will also be exploring stereotypes in an international context. 

    Session 4 (12:05-1:00)

    Update on Veterans on College Campuses (Port O’Call) 

    Carol Oyster

    With the reduction in troops being deployed to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more returning military are entering higher education. Although this trend has been increasing for a number of years, American schools and colleges have been caught without policies or programs to handle these nontraditional students. Schools and colleges have been working without much direction to facilitate the success of our returning veteran students. This panel will present some of the emerging literature on ‘best practices’, including how UW stacks up, and several campus veterans will discuss their experiences transition from combat to college.

    Understanding Generational Diversity in Education (Valhalla A)

    Barbara Larsen

    The Flip Flops are coming! What’s all the buzz about “generational gaps” in education or the workplace? Are you grappling with generational gaps in recruiting, retaining, rewarding, managing, or training the generations? Or just plain “communicating” better with others of different generations? This workshop has been successfully delivered to numerous business and educational groups in several locations across the country. Join Barb Larsen in an engaging and participative approach to gain a clear understanding of how you and your organization can gain a better understanding of this new dimension in generational diversity that is affecting our workplace, customers, and board room. Learn in this workshop how examining the “values” of the four difference generations can transform motivation, teambuilding, communication, and trust. Learn more about how understanding these differences can truly make a difference in how we communicate in order to build stronger relationships in our businesses. We will explore the four generational areas: Traditionalists; Baby Boomers; Generation X; Generation Y.

    Hindrance to Embracing Cultural Diversity: The Curse of the Pseudoindependent Status (Valhalla B)

    Suthakaran Veerasamy

    The focus of this presentation will be on the need for White people to understand racial topics from an experiential and not just an intellectual perspective to promote true cultural diversity. The Western cultural value of embracing the intellect and discounting the experiential has resulted in the perpetuation of racism through covert means by socially conscious White people. According to Janet Helms in her White Racial Identity Development model, White people in the Pseudoindependent status who intellectually, but not experientially, understand the topic of racism tend to “help” people of color by unknowingly encouraging them to relinquish their own cultural values and embrace dominant White values.

    Session 5 (1:15-2:10)

    When the Seemingly Innocuous Stings: Racial Microaggressions and their Emotional Consequences (Port O’Call) 

    Jennifer Wang

    Racial microaggressions, or commonplace race-relevant questions, assumptions, and behaviors that are seemingly innocuous may nonetheless be emotionally harmful for racial minorities. Despite their apparent insignificance, these experiences can be harmful (i.e. increased anger, shame, anxiety) for racial minority targets when they are believed to have occurred because of their race. The talk will address the clash of racial realities regarding the intentionality and impact of racial microaggressions and highlight the need to engage in more nuanced investigations to understand the consequences of these experiences.

    Revisiting Pants and Skirts: Transgender at UW-L (Valhalla A) 

    Sawyer Johnson

    Dialogue surrounding the transgender community often narrows in on the topic of restrooms, an issue of safety and comfort for the trans* community. Transform President Sawyer Johnson will discuss the experiences of trans* and gender non-conforming students at UW-La Crosse through this lens of restroom accessibility. Join us as we ask the following questions: what role do gender inclusive restrooms play in protecting transgender students, faculty, and staff? How can UW-L best meet the needs of its transgender and gender non-conforming population?

    Let’s Talk Disability: Panel Discussion with SAPA - Students Advocating Potential Ability (Valhalla B) 

    Katie Houle

    Following a short video about language and disability, students with a variety of disabilities will present a panel discussion and answer questions from the audience. Each student will discuss their unique perspective on disability and how they are impacted. Questions and discussion are encouraged. We feel the best way to reduce the stigma associated with disability and to change attitudes is to openly talk about these issues. We emphasize that people with disabilities are people first and deserve to live full lives with dignity, independence, desires, and choices. Let’s talk!

    don't miss winona la duke

    LaDuke headshotNative American activist Winona LaDuke will give a lecture

    7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, in Valhalla, Cartwright Center.

    LaDuke, an advocate for environmental, women’s and children’s rights, is the founder and co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network. LaDuke speaks on topics such as the deterioration of Native American reservations, as well as devastation of rain forests.

    Tickets in advance are $3 for UW-L students and $5 for others. Ticket prices increase $2 the day of the show. Her presentation is part of Campus Activities Board series and Diversity Dialogues. 

    Diversity Dialogues Schedule


    1 - DIVERSITY: Individual differences (e.g. personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g. race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning. (AAC&U, 2005, 2008).