Final details for campus Teach-In released today

Grand Valley State University released today its list of sessions for the Teach-In, which will be held March 26 to address issues that have arisen since the racial bias incident on Feb. 17.

Offensive writing was found on a whiteboard hanging on an African-American student’s dorm room door in the Copeland Living Center. The Grand Valley Police Department is investigating the case.

Provost Gayle Davis said the Teach-In is essential because without it, “our campus will likely experience behavior that contradicts our values on inclusion and equity.” She added that it is important to think about how racism and discrimination affect our lives here.

“It is part of a solid education to understand others and part of Grand Valley values to work on being a good citizen, showing empathy and civility toward all who make up our world,” Davis said. “I hope they raise awareness of intentional as well as inadvertent discrimination on our campus and provide alternative ways of dealing with each other so that all feel respected.”

The Teach-In will be a day-long event with 50-minute sessions starting each hour in order to allow as many students, faculty and staff as possible to attend, said Karen Gipson, chair of the University Academic Senate and the Executive Committee of the Senate.

Gipson said the Teach-In idea came out of the Feb. 21 ECS meeting. The event is called “Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues” and was planned out of the need to educate the campus community.

“It is intended to address topics related to inequality and systems of oppression, as well as social justice and liberation,” Gipson said. “The learning objectives of the Teach-In are to raise awareness, share knowledge and create dialogue.”

Many student organization leaders, faculty and staff have been involved in the planning process. Students were asked to offer topics for presentations, and many of them will be presenting, too.

“The event will include collaborative faculty, student and staff sessions to open dialogues using engaged pedagogies,” Gipson said. “Some sessions will have an intersectional framework — race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, et cetera.”

Wendy Burns-Ardolino, a GVSU professor of liberal studies, was on the planning committee with Gipson and a few others. Burns-Ardolino has heard some faculty complaints regarding the lack of bias incident training. While she cannot speak for everyone, she said she fully supports the Teach-In because it provides an opportunity for campus-wide dialogue and education.

“Faculty, staff and student collaborative and engaged pedagogy focused on addressing particular instances of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and other forms of discrimination as well as interlocking systems of oppression that impact our campus culture and our collective community,” Burns- Ardolino said. “This is an opportunity for us all to produce shared knowledge and to engage in difficult dialogues.”

The event is sponsored by the ECS and its partners at the GVSU Women’s Center, the Dean of Students Office, the Division of Inclusion and Equity, the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, the LGBT Resource Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

A complete schedule of the Teach-In sessions became available today at

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