The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Diversity Weekend pleases despite low attendance

By Jessica Masterson

Simply by posing the question, “Why Are All the [blanks] Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” Diversity Weekend 2006 brought its message home last weekend to what some characterize as the clique-dominated microcosm of Café Mac. The two day event brought together student and faculty voices across lines of various gender, racial, class, and sexual identities.
“I felt that the topic of ‘Why are all the [blanks] Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’ was an important discussion for people to have,” said Tinbete Ermyas ’08, a principal organizer of the event. “I am so glad that we were able to have it this year in a Diversity Weekend setting.”

The weekend kicked off Friday evening with a keynote address from television actress and radio personality Nancy Giles in the John B. Davis lecture hall. A graduate of Oberlin College, Giles used her signature wit to relate her experiences there to the audience of approximately 80 students, faculty and community members. At times provocative and often hilarious, Giles’s presentation set the tone for the weekend.

Saturday’s activities began with a student panel entitled “Looking beyond the ‘isms’: Cliques and Communities in College.” Panel organizer Emma Sheppard ’09 brought together six distinct student voices in a discussion moderated by Assistant Dean of Students Irene Kao.

“I really appreciated the way students weren’t afraid to disagree with one another. I think that’s a really good sign,” said panel attendee Danielle Sigwalt ’08, citing the several tense moments among audience commentators and panelists.

Afterwards, a faculty and community panel tackled the subject of “Why Are All the [blanks] Standing Together at the Water Cooler?” The panel aimed at addressing issues of segregation beyond college student life. The discussion brought to light the similarity of the problems faced by students and staff at Macalester.

Some attendees said the stories told by the panelists made it clear that the conference theme was relevant far beyond the scope of the student body.

“The staff/faculty forum really worried me because it seemed to me, that even though no one said this explicitly, that [the general theme] was a tale of being silenced…and this is precisely what we don’t want to silence,” attendee David Boehnke ’07 said.

Both nights of the conference concluded with musical performances. Twin Cities hip hop groups Toki Wright and Illuminous 3 performed on Friday night while a Diversity Weekend staple, Salsa del Soul, entertained a sizeable audience on Saturday night.

Conference coordinators said that they were pleased with this year’s attendance though it was lower than last year’s.

“The main law was that not many people showed up to the panels and of those who showed up, it is usually those who have these conversations the most,” Ermyas said. “But I am happy overall that a lot of first-years came and showed their support.”

View Comments (10)
More to Discover

Comments (10)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    Sally MackenzieSep 11, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    There are some interesting time limits on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as properly

  • W

    Wanda DowdSep 10, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I conceive you have mentioned some very interesting points, thanks for the post.

  • K

    Keith MacLeodSep 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Wow, what a video it is! Really good feature video, the lesson given in this video is in fact informative.