…calling attention to patterns of inequity

A community conversation event discussed the necessity of supporting students of color and improving their campus experience.

Nicole Ronchetti, News Reporter

The first community conversation of the spring semester, titled “Addressing Student of Color Experiences in Higher Education” discussed one of the most relevant topics currently facing universities and students across the country. The event took place virtually on Feb. 24 and brought in a variety of speakers and experts to talk about the realities of race and racial experience on college campuses.

The main speaker of the program was Lori Patton Davis, who has done extensive research on the subject and now teaches at The Ohio State University. In her presentation, Davis emphasized the importance of recognizing the different realities that white students and students of color face daily at universities, and the inequity that often results.

“It’s important for all of us to understand the gravity of our social context,” Davis said. “It’s particularly real for those of us who experience the brunt of it.”

Davis’s presentation centered on these differences as well as how to approach and address them. One of the primary recommendations for how to do this was by not being afraid to acknowledge the reality of this disparity and by sharing and communicating how students’ experiences might vary.

“We’re talking about calling attention to patterns of inequity,” said Davis, “and about taking personal responsibility for disrupting those patterns.”

In addition to Davis, the conversation also included the perspectives of Hamline professors, Mycall Akeem Riley ‘12 Hamline graduate and senior Rose-Marie Athiley.

This event was the first of three scheduled community conversations this semester. Each event is designed to encourage dialogue around important issues and engage students and staff alike in thinking about their experiences and the experiences of others.

“How do we talk about those differences in a way that allows me to be just as much informed about your experiences as you are being informed by my experiences,” David Everett said, the associate vice president of inclusive excellence at Hamline and the host and organizer of the event.

The importance of conversations like these is something that has been particularly stressed during the pandemic, which has limited the student interaction and community engagement that typically happens both in and outside of the classroom.

“It’s a huge challenge,” Everett said, “a lot of the really good conversations don’t happen in the classrooms, they happen in the dorms, in the student centers.”

With the community conversations, Everett hopes to provide an opportunity for similar conversations and to create a space where important topics can be discussed with the attention that they deserve.

“There has to be some level of intentionality about how we create those opportunities and moments,” Everett said. “It’s an opportunity to share and obviously to learn, but also to talk about what we do next.”

The upcoming community conversations will take place on March 24 and April 21. The topics will be “Leadership During Crisis” and “Engaging Immigrant and Refugee Experiences in the Hamline Community.” 


Both of these upcoming events can be accessed via the same Zoom meeting link. 

Meeting ID: 920 8408 3948

Passcode: PtPhx9