Publish Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2020 15:25:32 -0700

Conversation on Race: Crafton Hills College

The recent events sparked by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, provided an opportunity for Crafton Hills College to stand in solidarity with people around the world working toward an equitable society. On July 16, the College hosted the “Crafton Hills College Conversation on Race,” an all-campus guided forum for students and employees to discuss matters of inclusion.

“This forum provided a safe space for attendees to engage with and learn from each other as we work together toward a more equitable institution,” said Dr. Ericka Paddock, Director of student life. Dr. Paddock called together a committee in mid-June to collaborate and plan the two-hour event.

In an effort to promote engagement, the 69 attendees were asked to share their thoughts using a public comment form and through participation in polls throughout the forum. Participants were encouraged to welcome and respect multiple viewpoints, actively listen, own their intentions and impacts, lean into discomfort, and work to recognize their privilege. Knowing the possibility of stress and anxiety that may occur because of these topics, mental health support was encouraged and information on obtaining services was made available throughout the event.

President, Dr. Kevin Horan spoke about equity efforts on campus and shared a personal experience before turning the event over to discussion moderator and faculty member Gwen DiPonio. The four panelists were current student Auraileea Ambrielle, staff member Eva Bell, faculty member Kenyon Callahan, and alumnus Tyrone Ross, all of whom introduced themselves before answering guided questions.

Each of the panelists commented on their understanding of privilege, supremacy, and systemic racism to begin the conversation. Next, panelists expressed their thoughts and feelings on the recent murders as well as the racial unrest in our country today before reflecting on what they hope our country can take from the experience.

Crafton is committed to ongoing equity and diversity conversations to help all students and employees feel welcome, connected, and listened to. This is the first of what will be many opportunities for our campus to grow and learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives while creating a more accepting and inclusive environment.