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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MUSG discusses inclusion at MU

Last Thursday, Marquette Student Government hosted a discussion on diversity in which students, a professor and an administrator offered their perspectives on how Marquette — and society as a whole — could further a sense of inclusion for diverse peoples.

The panelists were prompted to respond to a series of questions regarding diversity. While race played a main role in the discussion, sexual orientation and religious differences were also addressed.

Each panelist was asked to participate by MUSG because they “represented a different aspect/perspective on diversity at Marquette,” according to the MUSG website.

As panelist Chris Miller, vice president for student affairs, stated at the beginning of the program, “(Diversity) is no longer shackled by the old paradigm of being ethnically focused.”

Miller said efforts toward being inclusive have to take place at a “micro-level, not a macro-level,” meaning people should be deliberate in their efforts to not use offensive, derogatory words without thinking.

Erin Ruckoldt, a senior in the College of Communication and president of the Gay/Straight Alliance at Marquette, also participated in the panel.

Ruckoldt, who identifies herself as transgender, said she always tries to leave people she meets with a positive impression in order to avoid negative associations about transgender people.

Fellow panelist Ed de St. Aubin, an associate professor of psychology and expert on the topic of human sexuality, said being transgender means “that one does not present (him or herself) according to their socially accepted role.”

De St. Aubin also described transgender as “gender nonconformity,” and said what is socially accepted for different genders has greatly changed over the past 30 years.

At one point during the discussion, Miller briefly mentioned the College of Arts & Sciences dean job offer that was rescinded from Seattle University sociology professor Jodi O’Brien. The event led to protests among students last year, and an increased focus on inclusion at Marquette.

According to a May 7 Tribune article, the offer to O’Brien was rescinded due to concerns about her scholarly writings regarding gays and Christianity.

John Heflin, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, also participated in the discussion. Heflin, who identifies himself as multiracial, said people sometimes say racist things without really thinking about it, especially people of older generations.

Heflin said it is important that people of our generation question or correct older people when they say something that promotes stereotypes.

Other panelists were Anwar Ali, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, and Marissa Evans, a sophomore in the College of Communication.

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