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Together, we are building a more welcoming
and inclusive Lehigh – Our Lehigh.

The Council for Equity and Community joins the Senior Officers in inviting students, faculty and staff to celebrate the last day of classes and recognize everyone’s hard work this year.

Join us on Library Drive from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1st
for some delicious cool treats and a few fun surprises!

Rain Location: Lamberton Hall

For more information about the CEC, go to our website.

Lehigh Latin Sorority Presents Universal Woman Essay Contest

The Delta Upsilon Chapter of Lamda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority invites the Lehigh community to its upcoming event, which is co-sponsored by the CEC:

Hello Lehigh family,

We are the Delta Upsilon Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.  LTA, founded in 1975 as an organization that prides itself in bringing awareness of social, political, and cultural issues. Our chapter at Lehigh has continued these efforts through various programs, events, lectures and more. 

This semester we are hosting our Universal Woman Campaign consisting of various events, one of which we are most proud of The Universal Woman Essay Contest. Our essay contest caters to the female youth in the Bethlehem School District and it will be introduced as an opportunity to "Tell your Story". There are many empowering women among us whose stories go unheard. This is an opportunity for the young women to share their experiences or to speak about a woman whose story inspires them. It is also a chance for the Lehigh community to celebrate our neighbors and continue bridging the gap through unity and understanding.

We are looking forward to awarding the essay winner(s) on April 18, 2015 at 6:00pm in Packard 101. On this date we not only invite you to be apart of this celebration meant to empower the youth of our community but to stay and experience The Black Latina Play which will begin at 6:17pm. The Black Latina is the story of being a Black Latina in the U.S.

Whether dark skinned or indeed African American and Hispanic, Black Latina is the journey of one’s struggle identifying with both cultures. It deals with both the external factors, from society to media, as well as the internal factors of family and friends viewpoints. It gives a first hand look inside the deep emotions behind a group of people that are constantly ignored.

We, the proud of Sisters of ΛΘΑ invite you to be a part of this important day where we should all strive to empower the universal woman with unity, love and respect.  

 

University of Oklahoma Fraternity Disbanded for Racism

A long-standing fraternity at the University of Oklahoma was disbanded by the university president after a video was released that showed fraternity members engaging in a racist chant. More information here.
 
What do you think of the decision to disband the fraternity? Tell us your thoughts by commenting on this post (requires Lehigh login). 

BlackLivesMatter: A Memorial for Michael Brown

The night the grand jury made the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed young man, the Black Student Union Executive Board was at a loss for words. That night I’m sure all of us sat around our TV’s and computers waiting for a decision. It came as a surprise when Darren Wilson was not indicted and our justice system failed Michael Brown and his family. We felt as though Michael Brown was a part of all of us. His death played a role in the larger narrative of our country. Michael Brown’s death was just one of many that have fallen to a similar fate in the past decade. Unarmed black men, women, and children are being murdered by people sworn to uphold and protect our country. How do we protect ourselves from being targeted? What happens when there is no one to protect us?

There is something that must be changed in our fragmented system flooded with institutionalized racism and prejudice. It is time for us to speak up against the injustices, educate the community, and progress towards a better future.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

This is what lead the Black Student Union to plan a memorial called #BlackLivesMatter. We wish to peacefully gather and unite the community to rise against injustice and to teach the Lehigh community that Black Lives Matter on Wednesday December 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm at the UC Flagpole. It’s our duty as an organization and we are committed to supporting and enriching the black community to stand in solidarity for our black brothers and sisters that we have lost. We are taking this as an opportunity to educate our Lehigh Community on the reality we are living in, so that we can create dialogue, and work together as a larger unit to fight against these injustices. The memorial works towards Lehigh University being a united an equitable community, while we all strive for excellence. This memorial is not just for Michael Brown; it is for him and the many others we have lost and through this memorial the Black Student Union will show why #BlackLivesMatter.

 

Sincerely,

The Black Student Union Executive Board

Transgender awareness and changing college campuses

This October, through a collaboration with the Pride Center for Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and more than 20 other departments and programs, Lehigh welcomed Ryan Sallans and Janet Mock to campus for "Translating Identities" - a discussion exploring the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Ryan Sallans and Janet Mock This event was the culimating event for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) history month and was in large part an attempt to create awareness about transgender people and to begin to disrupt our traditional and binary understanding of gender.

Transgender, in its broadest use, refers to anyone whose self-identity, behavior, or anatomy falls outside of societal gender norms and expectations; someone whose gender identity does not match the sex/gender they were assigned at birth (conversely, a person whose gender identity matches the sex/gender they were assigned at birth is referrred to as "cisgender"). So, a transgender man (like Ryan Sallans for example) was assigned female at birth, identifies as a man, and has transitioned his gender expression to that of a man. Transitioning can (but does not always) include the use of hormones and gender confirmation surgery

As more students and faculty are coming out* as transgender, colleges and universities are working to keep up with the changes. However, colleges and universities (among so many others) are still very "gendered" institutions. From residence halls to sports teams, almost everything on a college campus is segregated by gender.  For example, a recent New York Times article about Wellesley College highlights the opportunity that transgender students (both female-to-male and male-to-female) have created for the institution to re-evaluate its policies and its portrayal and position with respect to being a "women's college". 

Here at Lehigh (yes, we do have transgender students) we are in the process of converting and rebranding over 50 single stall restrooms to be "gender inclusive", launching a residential living option for 2015-2016 that will give transgender students a safe and gender-non-specific living environment, and evaluating many other policies and procedures to make our institution more inclusive for transgender students. Many of these changes benefit lots of other people in addition to transgender individuals. In addition, and maybe most importantly, these changes create an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of gender, gender identity, and gender expression and that can lead to a more welcoming and open environment for people with any "difference." 

How might colleges and universities continue to change to be more inclusive of transgender students? What will colleges and universities look like with respect to gender in 20 years? What changes should Lehigh be sure to implement to make our campus more inclusive to students of all genders?

 

*Coming out as transgender is different from coming out as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. For LGB indivduals and the LGB community, coming out is perceived as being truthful about your authentic self, and the LGB community assigns a great deal of value and importance to individuals' willingness and empowerment to be out. For many transgender people, living and expressing themselves as their authentic self in terms of their gender is their truth and is their "being out". It is not necessary or important for a transgender person to publically acknowledge that their gender is different than the sex they were assigned at birth. 

 

Meet The CEC: Jennifer Swann

Dr. Jennifer Swann, professor of biological sciences.What is your role here at Lehigh?

I have many roles. I am a professor in biology, I am the co-chair of the Faculty and Staff of Color Network and the Tri-Chair of the CEC, along with Lori Bolden McClaind and Joe Sterrett.

Why are you involved in the CEC?

I have always been interested in inclusion and diversity.  I have been working on these issues for close to a decade at Lehigh.   

What working groups or initiatives are you involved in?

I am a member of the Executive Committee.  Our goal this year is to complete our 12-month plan, which includes creating a road map for the next 3 years.  We also want to create a permanent structure for the CEC.  We are also in the process of incorporating the CEC into the policies of the University.

What do you hope your work will result in?

My hope is that our work will engage the entire university in creating a welcoming, inclusive and equitable university where everyone feels their contributions are encouraged and appreciated.

What advice or direction do you have for someone who wants to be engaged in making Lehigh more diverse and inclusive?

Welcome!   We need all the help we can get - please join us.  We are collecting information on all the activities on campus and will soon have a comprehensive list of other groups who could use your help. 

For more information on Professor Swann and her work, please go to her website.

 

  

Meet The CEC: Tyrone Russell

What is your primary role here at Lehigh?

My key responsibility as Director of Multicultural Affairs at Lehigh is to create and manage systems of support for historically underrepresented students. This includes but isn't  limited to assisting in programming, advising, and supervising students.

Why are you involved in the CEC?

I am involved with CEC selfishly because it provides comfort to know there are a host of Lehigh professionals dedicated to inclusion on our campus.

What working groups/initiatives are you involved in?

I am part of the Executive Committee.

What are you hoping for as a result of your involvement with the CEC?

I hope my work will result in a genuine valuing of challenge and support for all who bear and represent the Lehigh brand. I want people to welcome the differences and diversity that challenge their comfort zones.

What advice or direction do you have for someone who wants to be engaged in making Lehigh more diverse and inclusive?

Start by challenging yourself and the biases that you have. Get involved with someone or something that you typically ignore or shy away from. Be the only one of "you" in a room and leave an impression. 

For more information about Tyrone and his work, please go to the OMA website.

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