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Panel Recap - Klein College's Diversity Town Hall

A few weeks ago, Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communications department of Advertising and Public Relations held a town hall for diversity and inclusion. The panel was attended by Klein College Dean David Boardman, faculty members of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations (DAPR) and students within the department. It was an open discussion between students and faculty regarding the state of diversity within the Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

Diversity, particularly within Temple University, has been an important topic for both students and faculty. Conversations surrounding diversity are imperative especially in communications and media because the world needs to be exposed to stories that they’re unfamiliar with. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in the media we consume and that cannot happen if we don’t begin having these important discussions and finding solutions.

Dean Boardman informed those in attendance that Temple University’s Klein College was the 2018 recipient of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Equity & Diversity Award, which acknowledged the university’s dedication to inclusion. But, students in attendance were shocked to hear that Temple received such an award considering that many of them felt Klein College was not diverse enough.

We segued into a discussion surrounding our personal experiences as Klein College students and the consensus was that we generally felt a sense of discomfort in our Klein classes. One of my classmates offered an insightful point, "I don’t see myself reflected when I walk into my classrooms. And that’s not to say that I needed to be surrounded by other people of color to be comfortable, but I’m aware of that and I always must keep that in mind.” Her point resonated with me and a few other students as we’ve all experienced that before.

Students in attendance consisted primarily of students of color and ranged from freshmen to seniors. The general consensus amongst the students at the town hall was that these conversations are important to have. And despite Klein’s lack of diversity it’s admirable that the Dean and Klein want to open the narrative to students so that we may be heard regarding issues of diversity and inclusion.

The atmosphere wasn’t tense or uncomfortable and I appreciated having the opportunity to have an open dialogue about a topic that means a great deal to me. In the future I hope that we can continue to have discussions like this one and that we’re able to make changes so that when I do walk into a classroom I won’t be hyper aware of being one of the few students of color in the room.

When asked about how he defines diversity Dean David Boardman said, “Diversity and inclusion is a moral imperative and it’s my responsibility to give people to access to diverse stories so that we are exposed to various perspectives.” It was great to hear that Dean Boardman felt as strongly about the issue as me and my fellow students. It gives me great hope that we can continue to create initiatives and programs that encourage students of color to speak about their own experiences and to make it so that going forward younger students.

This blog post was written by Thatcher Williams, Director of Public Relations.

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