KEAP searches for support
The Knowledge, Empowerment, Advocacy and Pluralism (KEAP) center is searching for community and campus support.
It became a diversity center 2 1/2 years ago, but it still does not have the resources or funding it feels it deserves.
The center recognizes and advocates for the different diversity groups that are found on campus. It also works to address issues of discrimination Winona State University students may experience.
Jouapag Lee, student groups coordinator, said, “I’m really looking for accountability and support from the community and Winona State University. We are opening the lines of communication.”
The goal of the KEAP center is to become a resource for Winona State students and have professional staff available for students and community members who want to learn about social justice matters in a safe environment.
KEAP is striving to provide a permanent diversity center open to those who are struggling with issues regarding race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
According to the Diversity Report from 2011, in the last three years there have been no reported hate crimes at Winona State. The Diversity Report shows that up to eleven hate crimes have gone unreported.
The report also states that the diverse population at Winona State will only increase, as will the harassment problems. It also shares many real-life stories of Winona State students who have been personally harassed because of their skin color.
The report contained an anonymous student’s story:
“Last year as I was walking to campus from Zaza’s, a white truck pulled up to me and shouted ‘Go back to your country!’ I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this was really happening to me. My family immigrated to this country as a result of the Secret War in Laos. I had been raised in Winona my entire life. Winona is my hometown. After that incident, all I could think was, I can’t believe this still happens,” the report stated.
KEAP is asking for leaders to talk about and acknowledge the issues on campus concerning diversity.
The center is looking for professors to make it a priority to add the issue into their curriculum by adding a personalized diversity statement into the syllabus.
The diversity statement is recommended but not required to be included into student syllabi. While some professors include statements, they are often overlooked.
KEAP also believes professors should mention the Winona State diversity statement in the classroom.
Karen Johnson, interim associate vice president of student life and development, said, “I fully support the efforts of the KEAP student organization. Increasing the diversity of students, faculty, and staff is very important at Winona State and we have several initiatives this year to strengthen the recruitment and retention of diverse students.”
KEAP will eventually be moving into a new space in Kryzsko Commons.
Contact Kayla at KLangmaid13@winona.edu
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