Purdue Student Government plans to host seminars on racial bias and anti-racism training this summer and will plan trainings to further the mission of the task force meant to combat inequality on campus this fall, president Assata Gilmore said.
The first seminar, titled "The Intro to Systemic Racism," is on July 7 and will be led by Rev. Sandhya Jha. The reverend co-founded the Oakland Peace Center and is the author of several books about how religion can be used to unite and transform communities amid social unrest.
Gilmore is also organizing a "town hall" in mid-July during which students, faculty and alumni can air grievances to administrators.
"It's a space for our administration to listen," Gilmore said. "I personally believe that there shouldn't only be an email address where students can send their concerns, their suggestions, about what is to come in the fall."
The executive boards of every student organization are invited to attend a leadership conference scheduled for the first week of August, she said. Leaders will be given essential anti-racism, anti-bias and inclusion training by Crossroads Anti-racism Organizing & Training.
Race, racism and systemic bias will be the theme for events sponsored by Purdue's division of diversity and inclusion, vice provost John Gates announced during a Full Steam Ahead podcast last week.
"What the students and what the nation are calling for at this moment in time are systemic changes," Gates said during the podcast. "Not nipping around the edges, not talk, not fluff, not a Band-Aid, but to dig deep into the systems of inequity and eradicate them.”
Gilmore said she hopes eventually to see bias training seminars required for all students. PSG members are also researching freedom of expression policies at other universities and deciding how they might be applied at Purdue, she said.
"A threat doesn't have to be a physical threat," she said. "Language can incite the same sort of emotions and tendencies that don't cultivate a welcoming and inclusive community."