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K-State Today

June 17, 2016

A letter from Zelia Wiley: Updates from the Office of Diversity

Submitted by Zelia Z. Wiley

Dear campus community,

Although summer is here, the Office of Diversity is not closed and continues to partner for successful programs. We ended the spring semester on a solid note, for our students truly excelled participating in their various leadership conferences. Congratulations to all of our graduates. We are proud as you enter the next phase of the journey!

Some highlights from the spring semester include the Black Student Union, or BSU, being named the best in the Big 12 Conference. For the eighth time in 11 years, the university's Black Student Union was awarded the Clarence Wine Award for Outstanding Big 12 Council of the Year at the 39th annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government, Feb. 25-27, at the University of Kansas. Brandon Clark, coordinator in the Office of Diversity, serves as a co-advisor. This year, he was named the Most Outstanding Black Student Union Adviser in the Big 12 at the conference. Clark has worked with the Black Student Union for 20 years. He offers guidance to students and is intentional about giving his time to activities that promote the organization's four pillars: academic stability, political action, leadership and black culture. Justice Davis, immediate past president of the BSU, received the Mordean Taylor Archer Most Outstanding Executive Board Member Award for her vision, dedication and hard work as an executive member of the council.

In March, our Hispanic American Leadership Organization took 14 students to the National Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Mirta Chavez, director of multicultural student services and programs, accompanied the students on the trip. The purpose of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, or USHLI, is to provide young Hispanic and Latino students the opportunity to develop leadership attributes in an environment that validates their shared experiences. Although many leadership conferences take place each year in the United States, only the USHLI is fully equipped to address the shared barriers that exist for Hispanic and Latino communities that lead to their underrepresentation in prominent leadership roles.   

In April, we partnered with the Student Government Association, or SGA, K-State Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS and the gender, women, and sexuality studies department, to present a diversity workshop and lecture titled "What's going on with Diversity?" featuring, Terri Johnson, assistant dean for multicultural affairs at Southwestern University as the speaker. This event was successful, for it met the request from our student leadership — SGA and the Multicultural Student Organizations, or MSO — to start a campaign for diversity. We will continue this campaign into the summer and fall to implement cultural sensitivity and social consciousness trainings for our students, faculty and staff. We also partnered with the HALO chapter to present the fifth annual Miss Belleza Latina Pageant on April 30 in the K-State Student Union's Ballroom. As usual, this event brought an outstanding crowd of current students and alumni. Bravo to our student leaders and the Office of Diversity staff for a great spring semester!

It is a pleasure to announce that the 2016 summer programs are in full swing. These programs include the 2016 MAPS Class X, the Historic Nicodemus camp and Urban Gardening Leadership. This promises to be an educational and fun summer for all of our participants. We also are partnering with the LGBTQ Center and Indigenous Alliance to send a delegation to the seventh annual American Indian/Indigenous Alliance Teacher Education Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona. We look forward to their report when they return and are very excited for a productive summer.

Finally, please join our office as we send condolences to the Orlando, Florida families. The Office of Diversity is saddened by this heartbreak. K-State students have been directly and indirectly affected by this tragedy. We support all students, faculty and staff and encourage you to utilize the university's resources. We wish the family members and loved ones of the victims inner peace and healing in the difficult days to come.

Zelia Z. Wiley
Interim associate provost for diversity