By Anna Toth
In the aftermath of the anti-LGBTQ posters placed around campus in October, Cleveland State took the first steps to start a committee with the goal of creating a more welcoming, safe campus.
The Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement hosted a working session on Thursday Nov. 9 to get everyone on the same page in going forward and to introduce the Collaborative Advising Committee formally. The goal of the committee is for members of the campus community — including students and faculty — to get together in small, focused groups to discuss ways that Cleveland State can be more inclusive to everyone.
“They’ll be able to suggest programming, training, and ideas for procedures,” Maurice A. Stinnett, vice president of University Engagement, said.
People from all backgrounds are welcome to join the committee, no matter their sexuality, gender or religion. The goal is to get as many voices involved in this discussion about inclusion and campus safety as possible so that all people can feel safe on the campus.
While the anti-LGBTQ+ posters may have started the conversation, Stinnett explains that the issue has moved beyond just that group.
“I want to reframe this entire situation and conversation, this is not just an LGBTQ+ issue,” Stinnett said. “This is an issue about white supremacy and racism as well.”
The Collaborative Advising Committee isn’t limited to a certain number of participants. Anyone who decides to show up to any of the five meetings being held after January can be a part of the process. By offering five different meetings at different time periods, the hope is to get as many people participating as possible.
While the meetings will be open to everyone, they will be significantly smaller and more focused than meetings in the past, specifically President Berkman’s Town Hall in October. Instead of a large group of people in one room all fighting to be heard on one issue, meetings will be broken up into smaller groups with a broader perspective and a much more diverse group of people.
“You can’t get 500-600 people in a room and make sure that everyone’s going to be heard,” Stinnett said. “I don’t want to leave anybody out.”
The meeting this past Thursday was all about giving that background information needed to move forward. More information about the Collaborative Advising Committee will be coming out in the next few weeks, but Stinnett is already thinking ahead to the impact he wants this committee to have.
The most important thing to him is making sure that everyone’s voice is heard in this process and that actual progress is made towards improving Cleveland State’s campus.
Stinnett believes that the community can come together to keep hate speech and white supremacy off campus. Not only that, but he was adamant that coming together is the only way to combat it and make Cleveland State the best known university for diversity and inclusion.
“We need all of the community members to come together and participate,” Stinnett said. “This is how we’re going to defeat hate on this campus and make sure that it’s an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment. We’re going to stand together, a collective impact.”