The Equity Programs and Pathways department conducted a Hate & Bias Workshop on Dec. 3, hosted by Joshua Moon Johnson, Dean of Student Services.
The purpose of the workshop was for faculty and students to listen and discuss how students deal with hate and bias, on and off campus, and also their academic success, according to Moon Johnson
During the workshop, Moon Johnson presented slide shows of student voices expressing their experiences with hate and discrimination. As the room filled with silence, Moon Jonson showed more slides on the impact of mental health in those who go through these experiences.
Throughout the workshop, Moon Johnson displayed slides that showed the challenges and stages victims go through, from micro-aggressions, to how to support and respond when things like this happen. The workshop also included a discussion session where students and faculty were able to answer questions and converse with each other.
Moon Johnson explained how hate and bias is very real on campus.“Many of our students come from backgrounds who have been historically disadvantaged and currently marginalized and mistreated. Students that have experienced hate crimes can have an impact on their safety, mental health and how they perform in a classroom academically.”
Prevention of hate towards students on campus has been something American River College is working on, according to Moon Johnson. ARC has a lot of equity programs that provide additional support to students who deal with hate on or off campus such as Universal Engaging Inclusive Transformative Education (Unite), Umoja Sakhu, Puente and the Pride Center. These are communities where students work collectively to support one another and are attached to a faculty or staff member for additional support.
Alejandra Garcia, who works for the Pride Center, spoke about her commitment in coming to workshops like this. “It’s horrible to hear some of the stories students have to share. Students experience these issues in classrooms at times or different groups they are with on campus.”
Garcia said she believes these workshops will leave people with a lot of thought and evaluation on how they can carry the information to the circles they are a part of and influence some type of change in that way.
“In bringing more equity on campus, I think that lies with the students. The experiences they been through and all the wealth and knowledge they have to bring to the table,” Garcia said. “Students have a lot of agency, power and influence on how this campus will be shifting in the next couple of years, so I think it will take a collaboration between our administration, faculty and especially our student body.”
The next workshops hosted by the Equity and Programs Pathway Department is scheduled to be announced in spring 2019.