Friday, December 6, 2013

USI's Segregationist Summit of Excellence

I want to bring to your attention a troublesome event held by a USI entity, not a student organization, back in September.

On September 9 and 10, USI's Multicultural Center held the "2011 Black and Brown Summit of Excellence." The calendar posting from USI's website is pasted below. (This posting can be found at )

This was obviously a segregationist event. I emailed the event contact person to ask if other "Summits" would be held for other "groups," and never received a reply.

Unlike the Black Student Union, a student organization, which explicity states that anyone of any race can join its group (see at the bottom inside this link: ), nowhere did I see a similar open invitation to the "2011 Black and Brown Summit of Excellence." Therefore, I have to conclude that it was not only a segregationist event, it was also a discriminatory event.

Here is a pdf of the workshop sessions for the event. Workshop Session 1 included an examination of Indiana's SB 590 and the Dream Act. Apparently this was meant to denigrate SB 590, while championing the Dream Act. Was this a proper use of state (university) funds especially in the context of a race based event? (i.e., this was not a student political organization holding the event with a particular view, where you might expect such advocacy.) Also note in women's Workshop 3, "Dangerously in Love," condoms were given out to the women. Does this fit with USI's definition of "Excellence"?

Finally, the sponsor of this event, USI's Multicultural Center, has USI's Creed posted on its website which reads, in part, "I will reject and confront all manifestations of discrimination...." The posting of the USI Creed can be found here: How ironic that this organization, which touts the USI Creed on its own website, blatantly violates that creed.
I find it hard to believe that such an event would fit in with USI's commitment to racial nondiscrimination.

Glen Kissel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Engineering, USI

2011 Black and Brown Summit of Excellence
Time begins3:30 PM
Time endsNo specific end time.
Recurring event
Yes (click here to go to the next recurrence) Last event: 9/11/2011
University Center
Event detailsThe 2011 Black and Brown Summit of Excellence is a two day program geared towards men and women of both African American and Latino heritage.

Day 1 begins with registration for the ladies at 3:30 p.m. and dinner at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2011. From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the females will attend 3 workshop sessions that are devoted to empowering and encouraging success for African American female and Latina students. The ladies will have the option to choose from up to three topics for Sessions 1 and 3. For session 2, all of the participating females will be brought together to talk about relationships with a panel of the men. The sessions will wrap up at approx. 8 p.m. and will be followed immediately by a Summit Mixer from 8-10 p.m., which is an opportunity for ALL participants of the summit to mix and mingle while enjoying music.

Day 2 will start at 11 a.m. for registration, and is structured around three sessions that cover a range of topics related to empowering and encouraging success among African American and Latino men. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and will be followed by the first session at 12:30 p.m. Just like the ladies, the men will have the option to choose from up to three topics for Sessions 1 and 3, and for Session 2 will come together for a chat with a panel of ladies. All events on Saturday, September 10 will wrap up at approx. 3:15 p.m.

To register, visit the MCC's web site or stop by for an application. Space is limited, so act fast! Registration deadline is September 2, 2011.
Event fee
This is a no-cost event.
Sponsored by
Multicultural Center
Event contact
Danielle Beebe
Event info.

Starting on the Wrong Foot: An Invitation to Segregation at USI

Starting on the Wrong Foot: An Invitation to Segregation at USI
A “colored students only” invitation has been issued by University of Southern Indiana’s (USI’s) Multicultural Center for a Thursday, August 23 Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception at the start of the university’s Welcome Week for freshmen and transfer students.
This invitation appears in a USI press release and on the Multicultural Center’s website (
From the USI press release, pasted below,
“Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Multicultural Center hosts Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception
The USI Multicultural Center will host a Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, August 23, in the University Center Room 201.

Students of color and their families[emphasis added] are invited to enjoy a variety of appetizers and connect with the USI community.

RSVP to Kacheyta McClellan, senior administrative assistant in the Multicultural Center, at

For more information, check out the USI Multicultural Center online.”
Our understanding is that “non-colored” freshmen and transfer students who want to attend the reception will be allowed in. An opportunity to meet a large number of USI administrators (including many “non-colored”administrators) will be a highlight of the reception.
Why does the invitation not reflect the fact that “non-colored”students can attend the reception? And how will “non-colored”students know they can attend if they are not invited?
How can a reception meant to highlight diversity be possible when only“students of color” are invited? It appears that USI is segregating students by race,even before they have had a chance to settle into college life.
This invitation to segregation during Welcome Week stands in stark contrast to that of USI’s Black Student Union (BSU) with its more inclusive welcome for students. From the Black Student Union’s webpage to bottom) we read:
“The BSU accepts and welcomes students of all races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds [emphasis added] into its membership.”
The Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception’s invitation to segregation could be made more inclusive with a simple change in wording:
“Incoming freshmen and transfer students and their families are welcome to the reception. We especially want to encourage students of color and their families to attend.”
As is it now stands, the invitation to the Cultural Diversity Welcome Reception is an invitation to segregation, and it is also a violation of the USI Creed and various provisions of the USI Handbook (see below).