NMU housing staff receive racial sensitivity training – The North Wind


Each summer prior to the start of the fall semester, the Office of Housing and Residence Life conducts training for resident advisers and principals to help support incoming students living on campus. Dr Jessica Cruz, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at NMU, has previously presented macro aggression for these trainings and has been invited by the university to speak on the broader issue of racial sensitivity training. that happened this year.

“We started by discussing the terms diversity, inclusion, equality and equity to provide context,” said Cruz. “The goal is to work for systemic equity, remove barriers and increase justice in order to have a system that provides equitable treatment, access, opportunity and progression to all. “

The unjust murders of black individuals over the past year have sparked protests and outrage across the country and the life of NMU Housing and Residence knew this was an important time to address these feelings and serve the community of campus by addressing sensitivity, critical race theory and race bias among other topics to those working in housing, said Catherine Hardenbergh, deputy director of residence life.

“If we had pretended it was business as usual, we would be doing our living communities a disservice. There is an opportunity for students from various spaces and experiences to share their feelings and beliefs even if they are opposed, ”said Hardenbergh. “We have the opportunity in housing and residential life to encourage healthy civic discourse and respect for our neighbors and cohorts. “

Throughout this summer’s paraprofessional training, Cruz has invited other faculty members to work with and help present these topics to help Residence Life ally with students of color and bring the healing to their communities. Other points of discussion during the training are on racial sensitivity, intersectionality and how the unique experience of each member of the community can bring different perspectives. Supporting students and forming an inclusive and welcoming community was one of the main mission statements of the training program, said Hardenbergh.

The training itself not only focused on the fair treatment and advancement of students of color, but also discussed privileges, especially the privileges of white individuals in the college community and their recognition. The talking points in this discussion were about the Black Lives Matter and all the movements of life, controversial symbols, macro aggression, and a dialogue about how to react when students use derogatory terms or racial slurs.

Sensitivity training will continue at NMU residences throughout the year with initiatives coming up to share resources and explore new ways to continue discussions about racial sensitivity and macroaggressions. During this summer’s training, RAs and RDs were invited to continue to be involved in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus and those who have expressed interest will be invited to participate. more with DCI as well as joining the UNITED planning committees and the Diversity Common Reader Project, says Cruz.

“It is important to continue this dialogue, especially given the current climate and national / global calls for justice,” said Cruz. “I will be making presentations on macro-aggression, but we will also continue to provide support for navigating difficult conversations, controversial or tense topics, and how to maintain a healthy living climate and environment.”


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