Conference shows Simpson not alone in diversity challenges

Conference shows Simpson not alone in diversity challenges

by Emili JohnsonStaff Writer

This past Thursday, I was invited to the Way Up Conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The conference has been held since 1983 between women in higher education and the Iowa Commission for the Status of Women.

The day was broken up into separate sessions on separate topics. The first session I went to was about sexual harassment and discrimination.

The presentation, given by administrators from Wartburg College, was focused on what happens on college campuses and who responds to a sexual assault or rape situations. They also outlined their policies and procedures dealing with sexual harassment, hazing and racial discrimination.

Simpson could take a few good pointers from Wartburg. For example, the students attempted to have the famous FTD t-shirts to wear at Wartburg v. Central games, but the shirts were banned because they were deemed offensive.

The second session was about Millennials. If you do not know what a “Millennial” is, let me put it to you this way…you are one. Anyone that was born from 1982 to the present is considered a millennial.

According to the presentation, given by administrators from the University of Northern Iowa, Millennials are “close with their parents, very busy in extracurricular and community activities, extremely focused on grades and performance, talented in technology, respectful of authority and structure, and confident.”

The session was surrounded by how professors can relate to us so we can be as successful as possible. We Millennials have our own way of life through communication styles such as instant messaging, text messaging, and general language.

The last session that I went to was entitled, “You, Me, and Diversity” given by administrators from Eastern Iowa Community College. It was surrounded around how professors should institute diversity through class materials and scheduled reading.

Every woman talked about their own experiences with diversity and some of their ignorant and arrogant students they have come across at the institutions. This was probably my favorite presentation of the day for the simple fact that diversity issues aren’t only isolated to Simpson, but every private college in Iowa.

The thing that both students and professors need to realize is that the only way we are going to have diversity is if we work together and keep the ideologies about diversity in constant motion.

The grand finale of the conference was a performance by Susanne Gubanc and Bethany Larson. They performed an amazing skit called Parallel Lives that put the icing on the whole conference.

Through this experience, I have learned that, as women, we are making more strides to the top than we had 20 years ago. As I looked at all the women in the conference, I thought about the future and how women in college today will be heading up the conference and when it is our time, it will be up to us to make it happen and make those before us proud.

Does this mean that I will change over to an education major – no. But it does mean that, through journalism, I have an opportunity to teach those through my own experience what I have seen and learned and I think that is where the art of teaching begins.