For the past few years, Southern Adventist University’s campus has had several breakout groups to talk about race relations. Last school year, the School of Social Work conducted campus-wide research looking into attitudes regarding race.
The title of the research was Studying Our Attitudes Racially (SOAR). Their goal was to help “Ensure Southern Adventist University is a safe and welcoming environment regardless of race or ethnicity.”
Professor Stephanie Guster was elected as the Senior Advisor to the President of Diversity on our campus. One part of her position involves helping people understand that others have human value. The Diversity Committee is made up of different employees around campus, and they would like to better understand and promote cultural differences. One focus of the committee is to find ways to make sure all students feel comfortable actively participating in life on campus.
Guster said, “The part I really like about the Diversity Committee is our job to promote the celebration of diversity for ethnic groups and underrepresented groups.”
While she may be a part of this committee, Guster is still a part of the Social Work Department here on campus. Guster will be teaching Racism and Oppression this coming winter semester. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and what is great about that, according to Guster is that, “There are six core values of social workers, and three of them are perfect in alignment with this. Competency, you need to know what you’re doing. Integrity, you need to do so honestly, and service, this is a service role to the campus. Then social justice, but the two most closely align are the dignity and worth of each individual.”
Dean of the School of Social Work, Kriste Wilder, said, “The greatest asset Southern has is our diverse student body. Part of our diversity in the student body is that it’s reflected in our campus life, culture, how we worship, how we socialize, and it’s in our policy.”
A couple of students on campus have expressed how they feel regarding diversity and its role here at Southern.
“I support whatever efforts they have to take and promoting acceptance of minorities on campus. I think that I see a lot of diversity on campus but specifically, we need more women and people of color in the faculty,” said student Laila Khalil.