The Efforts of D.E.I. on Moravian University: A Recap of Events and Future Plans

Photo courtesy of @MoravianU on Twitter

Photo courtesy of @MoravianU on Twitter

On Feb. 16 and 18, the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion held two panels and a march to highlight and bring awareness to the xenophobia that is still present on campus and in the world as a whole. These were the “Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory” panel on Feb. 16 and the “Black Lives Matter: It Didn’t Start in 2020” and Black Lives Matter March on Feb. 18. To gain further insight on these events and the D.E.I. office as a whole, The Comenian interviewed Dean Christopher G. Hunt.

Dean Hunt has been a staunch activist and a part of the Bethlehem community since the mid-90s, where, at Liberty High School, he met Warren West, the head of the Brotherhood Club (akin to Moravian University’s Black Student Union). His work as a proponent for representing Black and other marginalized students is cited as being one of the inciting factors for Hunt’s involvement with D.E.I. projects. It is why the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion means respect for all persons. It is the rejection of the Golden Rule and the implementation of a system that treats others how they need to be treated; recognizing and amending the struggles one goes through based on their background and identities.

“The ingredients for success look different for other people,” Hunt said.

Another important Hunt expressed is the need and openness for dialogue about those struggles, as well as how to address them and improve upon the condition of marginalized persons in society. 

One of these conversations, “Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?” opened the floor up to understand the hot topic. When opening these dialogues, the office primarily focuses upon the most relevant and talked about subjects of conversation. Panelists Abby Ortega, Baru Robertson-Hornsby, Bennitta Ngobeni, Dr. Chris Hunt, Dr. Laurie Kahn, and Tristan Gleason sat down campus community members over Zoom at 7:00 p.m. to lay out the tenets of Critical Race Theory, CRT, who opposes it, and how to better integrate the perspective into the classroom and larger conversation. As a part of his academic focus, Critical Race Theory is an especially relevant subject to discuss. 

Friday, Feb. 18 saw two events pertaining to Black Lives Matter. “Black Lives Matter: It Didn’t Start In 2020” opened yet another dialogue, examining the history of the BLM movement, as well as dispelling commonly held myths about the topic. Following the Zoom-based discussion, on the PPHAC Patio at 3:30, a gathering of students, faculty, and staff dressed in all black walked about campus in a show of solidarity. 

The primary purposes of the march were to not only remember those Black persons who have been victimized or subjected to the brutality of the United States’ police force, but also to increase awareness of Black student lives on Moravian’s own campus. Black lives have mattered, and will always matter, and it is the responsibility of non-Black community members to recognize their fellow persons’ plight and stand with them. Both these events were organized and led by the Black Student Union (BSU). The D.E.I. office greatly thanks the executive board of the BSU for hosting such meetings that bring to light the present reality and strength of the American Black community; a continuation of a legacy that has remained strong on Moravian’s campus for years. 

By holding events and panels, the D.E.I. wishes to reach out to the community at large. It wishes to spark conversation to those who are resistant. The D.E.I. hopes its words shall reach those in the community who have yet to know there are resources available for mutual aid and those who do not yet know they have an avenue for aid. The D.E.I., its affiliate clubs, and all social programs it organizes are made for the community and the community alone. It is made for everybody, both marginalized and not; even people for whom diversity just “isn’t their thing.” 

On March 10 at 7:00 in Johnston Hall and through Zoom, the D.E.I office will be holding a secondary discussion of Critical Race Theory featuring guest panelist Dr. Harrison Bailey, II. All are welcome. Furthermore, on April 7 an address on how to live in a global society will be held. Intercultural Graduation will quickly follow on May 6, with seniors sharing their experiences the day before.

It is undeniable that the world is ever-changing globally. Now more than ever, the boundaries of nations blur as the world becomes more diverse and equitable. The D.E.I., ultimately, is an office that hopes to help bring about awareness of this change as well as build a more connected community for not only Moravian University, but beyond. Engagement with a more diverse world cannot be optional, but with the efforts of the office as well as its student-run clubs, the task of integrating oneself into the global society becomes just one meeting easier.