Summit on inclusivity

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville hosted the UW System Representatives’ Inclusivity Summit last Friday through Saturday in the Markee Pioneer Student Center. The Summit’s goal was to discuss and inform representatives about difficult issues regarding diversity, inclusion and equality in our society.

Jordan Roberson, a junior political science major at UW-Platteville and the director of inclusion for the UW System Representatives and the other UW System Representatives planned and coordinated this year’s summit.

“Each of the 26 schools in System try to address inclusivity and diversity, but we are all doing so in ways directly relevant to our individual campuses. Events like the summit allow student representatives to share ideas with each other so that as each campus faces similar challenges. We can learn from each other how to resolve them,” assistant professor of English Dr. Pip Gordon said.  

On Friday, Dr. Josh Anderson, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville, led a discussion of the film “Teach Us All” in the Lundeen Lecture Hall. The film studied the ways in which segregation is still a problem in public schools in the United States.

On Saturday, Gordon gave the keynote address. The speech explored the pitfalls of diversity when intersectional identities encounter hierarchies of privilege. A short clip was shown from the FX show “Pose” as a starting point to examine race and sexual orientation in a hostile environment.

“As the speaker for such an event, my role is to empower students to see the world from perspectives outside their own and also to recognize the strength and power of their own experiences,” Pip said. 

On Saturday, Dr. Terry Burns, professor of English, presented “The Politics of Not Listening: Fundamentalism, Essentialism, and Equal Representation on College Campuses.”

Jaime Collins, director of marketing and communications at Southwest Health in Platteville, presented “Girl in the Mirror”, discussing the different forms of privilege and the connection privilege plays in diversity. 

The summit was sponsored by the UW System Student Representatives, the statewide student governance body that represents all 180,000 students from each of the 26 campuses within the UW System. Representatives that attended consisted of vice presidents of various UW school senates and a handful of members that sit on the executive board.  

The summit allowed students and faculty to learn and develop as one. The guest speakers and presentations throughout the event encouraged representatives to take a new perspective on diversity within their campuses.