Workshop teaches students ways to deal with discrimination

Gershon Harrell

Celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center hosted the discrimination station, an interactive workshop for students.

Director of the Student Multicultural Center Talea Drummer, the Assistant Director Ashley Williams and Project Coordinator Mike Daniels each wrote scenarios discussing acts of bias and discrimination students may encounter.

“It came from our students,” Drummer said. “We just made it come to life. They said, ‘we need this.’ Literally, they came up to us and they said ‘we don’t know what to do when something happens to us and we need someone to show us.’”

Three different scenarios were shown that focused on colorism, the perception that light skin is preferable to dark skin, the glass ceiling in the workforce and homosexuality and masculinity.

“The first time we did it, it was really focused on race relations,” Drummer said. “And then this year we were talking, we really said you know we need to focus on some of the conversations our students were having, and so that’s where the glass ceiling conversation came in and the homosexuality scenario.”

The workshop began on the third floor of the Kent Student Center in room 315 and eventually moved down to the SMC. Students had no idea what to expect or what was going to be discussed at the worksop.

After each scenario was presented, the audience was given the opportunity to evaluate the scenarios. Faculty members asked the question, “How would you approach the situation and how would you handle it?”

Students who came to the workshop said they learned and saw things from different perspectives.

“I learned about changing the language that you use,” Emily Lance, a junior speech pathology major said. “And being very inclusive of everyone and knowing that everyone comes from different backgrounds but we’re all here for the same reason and to support everyone.”

Gershon Harrell is a diversity reporter. Contact them at [email protected]