Kutsche Office of Local History

Teach In: Power, Privilege, and Difficult Dialogues

Date: March 18, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 8am-10pm
Mary Idema Pew Library
Exhibition Hall and Atrium Multi-purpose Room

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…..whatever affects one of us directly affects all of us indirectly.”  We need to stand united to combat injustice for the sake of our entire community.
This teach-in was motivated by recent bias incidents at Grand Valley in addition to a number of campus indicators that continue to motivate our inclusion and equity work that include the 2011 Campus Climate Study and ongoing reports of bias incidents on campus. These incidents include hostile acts based on race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, and class.  Students reported that such incidents also occur in the classroom, and they have emphasized the importance of faculty response to intentional or unintentional bias comments and actions. These reports underscore the urgent need for the faculty to take a strong stand to oppose discrimination, intimidation, and oppression in all its forms.
This teach-in, entitled Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues, is being planned for the purpose of mutual education among students, faculty and staff of the GVSU community and intended to address topics related to inequality and systems of oppression, as well as social justice and liberation.  Recognizing the multi-faceted dimensions of these topics, we are planning this teach-in as a daylong event. The learning objectives of Power, Privilege, and Difficult Dialogues are to raise awareness, inform, create dialogue, and document suggestions for action.  
In an effort to involve as many students, faculty and staff as possible, we will be adhering to the MWF class schedule, with 50-minute sessions, each starting on the hour.  Please keep in mind that a teach-in is practical, participatory and action oriented. We especially encourage contributions with an intersectional framework (race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability). Sessions should include student leaders as co-presenters or panelists. We welcome collaborative faculty/student/staff sessions that involve educational frameworks for opening dialogues, workshops, and engaged pedagogies.

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