2003 Diversity Conference Addresses Disabilities

OGDEN, Utah – I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University, will be the keynote speaker at Weber State University's 5th Annual Diversity Conference on Oct. 3. The conference will be held in the Shepherd Union Building from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The theme of this year's conference, Diversity at Work, will be explored in various lectures, discussions and workshop sessions throughout the day.
 Forrest Crawford, assistant to the president for diversity at WSU, said Jordan's involvement in this year's conference helps broaden perceptions and understanding of diversity.

Past conferences have addressed gender and ethnic studies, human rights and hate-motivated violence.

"If we want to serve as a forum for educating the public about what diversity is, we need to represent all the faces of diversity," said Crawford. "Dr. Jordan's visit underscores our traditional definition of diversity, which includes the disabled community."

Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world's only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. That year Gallaudet students, with support from many alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university, protested the board of trustees' appointment of a hearing person to the presidency.

Called Deaf President Now (DPN), the week-long protest was a watershed event in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people all over the world. At its conclusion, the board reversed its decision and named Jordan, one of three finalists for the position, the eighth president of Gallaudet and the first deaf president since the institution was established in 1864.

Crawford said the conference offers a unique forum for Utah's deaf community. "It provides an opportunity for members of the deaf community to affirm their voice while sharing challenges they face in employment, leadership and representation with a national advocate."

At the same time, Crawford said the event provides WSU students the chance to engage the deaf community and learn about the issues and challenges it faces.

In addition to Jordan's speech, workshops and discussions will focus on specific issues related to diversity in the work place.
 Jordan will join community leaders at a pre-conference summit on race and disability in Utah, to be held Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library, 210 East 400 South. The summit will examine ways in which race and disability prevent consumers from accessing critically needed services and will brainstorm strategies for overcoming those barriers.

The conference and workshops are open to the public free of charge. Those attending the conference are encouraged to park in the Dee Events Center parking lot and ride a free shuttle to campus. For more information call 626-6103.

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WSU's 5th Annual Diversity Conference Schedule

8:30-8:55 a.m. – Registration – Informal Welcome – Sign in

9:00-9:50 a.m. – Workshops

Awareness Workshop for Students
Leticia Medina, Director of State Community Services, SLC, UT
"An ability to work with people from all cultural identities in a way that promotes respect and dignity"
(Shepherd Union Building 338/340)

Leading a Multicultural Organization
Susan Johnson, President of Futura Industries Corporation, Clearfield, UT
Ms. Johnson will be describing her company's philosophy, practices, opportunities, and challenges for making Futura a truly multicultural organization.
(Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater)

10:00-10:50 a.m. – Keynote Address by Dr. I. King Jordan
Introduction by Dr. Robert G. Sanderson, consultant
(Shepherd Union Ballrooms A & B)

11:00-11:50 a.m. – Panel Discussions
 
Student Panel Discussion: "Voices to the Table"
Student views on the issues of diversity at WSU
Moderated by Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, WSU sociology professor
(Shepherd Union Ballroom C)

Panel Presentation:  "Immigration Issues: Impact on Utah"
Panel will explore educational, demographic, and socio-economic changes that continue to challenge the Utah community.
Moderated by Annajane Arroyo, community activist
(Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater)

12:00-1:00 p.m. – Lunch Break

1:15-3:00 p.m. – Workshops

A Conversation with Dr. I. King Jordan
Dr. Jordan will be joined by officers of the Beehive Chapter of Gallaudet Alumni in responding to a variety of issues and open questions faced particularly by the deaf community.
(Shepherd Union Building 338/340)

Criminal Justice Workshop
Presented by Ken Wallentine, Administrative Counsel for Utah P.O.S.T., SLC, UT
The Utah law enforcement commitment to equal and fair delivery of policing services explores how we are progressing toward bias-free policing of our communities.
(Shepherd Union Building 325)

 

Contact:

Forrest Crawford, assistant to the president for diversity
801-626-7420 · fcrawford@weber.edu

Sandra Powell, Diversity Planning Committee Chair
801-626-6103
·
spowell@weber.edu

Author:
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 · jkowalewski@weber.edu