The President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusiveness has selected “privilege” as the theme for the spring semester and invites everyone on campus to plan events around that concept.
“Privilege” can be defined as “a special advantage or benefit not enjoyed by all.” This sort of right, advantage or immunity often is not sought out – but is present and privileges some groups over others, nonetheless.
We invite any and all academic or service units, organizations, interest groups or members of the campus community (students, staff, faculty) to join our effort to understand how privilege can affect our lives. We encourage you to sponsor an event, or a dialogue, or a panel, or a service learning activity or an educational session that gives people an opportunity to share perspectives, learn new information or engage in respectful dialogue about the many issues involved with privilege.
There is no right or wrong view to have – the goal will be for us to hear new perspectives, learn about the issues from a variety of viewpoints, share our thoughts and reactions with each other in a respectful manner, and ultimately come to an understanding of how these issues affect all of us.
The President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusiveness recognizes that a variety of world issues affect our community in many ways. While many of these issues appear to affect targeted groups of people, they do, in fact, affect us all. By starting the conversation we all can learn how these issues affect us and the world around us. As a university that aspires to help our students become global citizens, we are in a wonderful position to encourage those conversations and provide experiences in leadership and civic responsibility, social justice, protection of natural resources, and communication among many others.
For this year’s topic, privilege, we could imagine a number of issues being addressed, from different disciplinary perspectives, and we realize there are likely many other perspectives to bring to this as well. The following list of examples is just a beginning and we look forward to the many other creative ideas that may be generated:
- Privilege of race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, ability, gender, sexual orientation, education
- Leadership and civic responsibility
- Social justice and advocacy
- Responsible activism
- Communication and civil discourse
- Protest art
You might plan a new event to address privilege, or groups could bring the topic to existing events.
We here at USD have the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment and solidify our identity as a community that fully values all of our members, engages in civil discourse, advocates for social justice and responsible activism. This situation gives us a chance to identify the voices that need to be heard, the ways we can support each other and the skills we need to develop.