The Social Justice Committee
The Social Justice committee consists of Residence Hall Directors, Assistant Hall Directors and an Assistant Director within University Housing. Together, we strive to promote diversity, educational awareness and inclusion. The committee focuses on training and development of University Housing staff but also assemble programs for students living in the residence halls.
RA Candidate True Life KSU:
On the morning of Saturday, February 28, 2015, the Social Justice committee hosted an event for prospective resident assistant (RA) candidates titled “True Life KSU: #BlackLivesMatter”. The committee wanted to provide the young student leaders with valuable information on a diverse topic that would be relevant to their potential role as resident assistants. The interactive presentation included a video by John Green encompassing the racial discrimination by the numbers for Black Americans, a conversation about media and how predominantly White people’s riots, such as sporting events, are swept under the rug compared to the coverage of the Ferguson riots. In addition, students were able to participate in hands-on activities to better understand the bias and discrimination that many Black Americans face. The overall goal of the event was to demonstrate the systematic oppression Black Americans encounter in order to better educate our students as to why #BlackLivesMatter so that we, as hall staff, can better support all of our students to be successful, build community, and enjoy their Kent State experience. Throughout this one and a half hour session, students tweeted along with “#KSUsj." Comments included: “I love that we are having this presentation because some people don’t get that racism is still around and this could open some eyes #ksusj”. “Racism exists & ignorance is a huge issue. We need to want to learn KSUsj”.
Student Staff In-Service:
During the afternoon on the same day, the Social Justice committee hosted a four hour in-service on the topic of “Microaggressions” for student staff within the Department of Residence Services. The purpose of the in-service was to help Resident Assistants and Desk Receptionists identify microaggressions that occur in the community and develop strategies for addressing them when they occur. The session began with a 90-minute presentation on identifying microaggressions by Lisa Givan, Special Assistant for Regional Campus Administration, and was followed by a panel of five Kent State administrators who responded to questions asked by the audience. The panel consisted of: Ken Ditlevson, Director of the LGBTQ Center; Dr. Timeka Rashid, Associate Dean of Students; Cassie Pegg-Kirby, Assistant Director for the Women’s Center; Tabetha Maly, Assistant Residence Hall Director; and Lisa Givan. The panel was able to provide the student staff with examples on how they have dealt with microaggressions and give advice on how to confront microaggressions in various settings. The committee received great feedback on the in-service. “How we covered such an important topic in our society that most people don't even know about or know they do! I also LOVED the professional panel part because their input was really nice to listen to! Lots of insight!”
What's next for SJ:
The Social Justice committee has been in reflection mode after planning and hosting our biggest events of the semester. Since then, we have discussed possible collaborations with Kent Interhall Council and National Residence Hall Honorary in order to promote diversity education programs. Also, we are in the process of establishing a social justice curriculum and programs to offer to personnel, residents, and other KSU Residences Services community members. Lastly, we plan to continue our True Life KSU series in the fall semester.