Creighton Students Union hosted a town hall on Sept. 17 to address student concerns and an- swer questions about racial injustice.
The town hall was conducted via a Zoom webinar, and attendees were encouraged to ask questions via a Q&A function within the call.
Panelists included Becky Nickerson, director of the Creighton Intercultural Center, Christopher Whitt, vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Allison Taylor, executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Sunny Washington, president of the Creighton University African American Student Association.
Nickerson shared that since the last town hall on racial injustice over the summer, the CIC has continued to work on providing inclusive programming and training.
“We hear our colleagues across campus saying ‘we want to learn how to engage in conversation; we want to make sure we are increasing our education on different issues,’” Nickerson said. “We can’t be anti-racist if we don’t know what that means.”
The CIC has provided training and presentations on bias, cultural humility, inclusive language, and inclusive leadership to various organizations and departments on campus.
Whitt shared that, as a part of Creighton’s commitment to engaging as an anti-racist institution, representatives from across the university are writing a draft of the university’s anti-racism action plan. Once the draft is complete, the community will be able to provide their feedback.
During the Q&A portion of the event, panelists were asked about what Creighton is doing to make sure that the education provided by professors is equitable and whether or not the university would consider implementing a racial injustice, racial sensitivity and decentering whiteness course into the Magis Core curriculum.
Whitt said that he has worked specifically with Magis Core professors to provide training and development sessions on how to be more inclusive in the classroom, and he has also started conversations within departments about expanding and introducing course offerings related to these topics of diversity.
“Part of our training is really getting our entire university on the same page,” Whitt said. “When it comes to the people that are making the decisions within departments as to what courses will be there, we have to have a common message.”
When asked if Creighton would accept if students asked for harsher, standardized punishments for certain offenses related to race, Taylor said that she would be open to the conversation.
“We are certainly looking at how we are holding people accountable because, if people feel that accountability is not strong enough, people are not going to think that this is a big deal.”