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Students Voice Concerns, Requests At Wichita State Diversity Forum

Wichita State University President John Bardo hosted a forum on diversity Thursday afternoon. In a campus-wide letter Bardo said the forum was “a chance to come together as a community in light of recent events at the University of Missouri” and controversy over the removal of pews in WSU’s Interfaith Chapel.

The standing-room-only crowd clapped after one student said he thinks the biggest problem the student body faces is the way in which the administration hides behind the inefficiency of the bureaucracy. He also said the administration needs to stand up for students, while still understanding that the university has to respect free speech.

Credit Abigail Wilson / KMUW
A WSU student speaks at a diversity forum held at the school Thursday.

“We as a university and you as an administration should have a code of ethics for when someone does something, you as an administration go ‘We’re sorry, but your beliefs violate our code of ethics and our standards and morals,'" the student said.

Student Kerisha Brodus says she thought the forum was helpful, but she doesn’t feel students were satisfied.

“I hate to say that, but I feel some people really wanted specific answers," Brodus says. "They wanted to hear, ‘Hey, I can fix this, or this is being done by A, B, and C.'"

Students, faculty and staff also voiced their desire for better accommodation of minority and marginalized populations, an increased cultural awareness by faculty, and an overwhelming request for the administration to take action now rather than focusing on a strategic plan for the future.

A similar forum on race and diversity was held Wednesday at the University of Kansas. 

Update Friday, 4:22 p.m.: WSU President John Bardo released a letter following Thursday's diversity forum. In it, he said the university will "begin to act next week on the ideas we heard" from students, faculty and staff.


Follow Abigail Wilson on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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