It’s Not a Race to the Bottom

First Year Experience Advisor
For the UAS Whalesong

In the Jan.  25 issue of the Whalesong, Student Activities Coordinator Tara Olson, wrote about microaggressions and how we can do something about everyday discrimination. It goes without saying that we are living in a particularly turbulent time – regardless of who you might believe is propagating it. The debates about what is “equitable” will continue for the foreseeable future, and it is easy to become exhausted, disenfranchised, or “checked out.”

So how do we address burnout and keep the conversation going? How do we raise the bar for discourse to avoid shouting matches? The UAS Power and Privilege Symposium is an important answer to those questions.

But a one-day event each year does not solve the entire problem. Continue reading “It’s Not a Race to the Bottom”

The Symposium Continued: How to Do Something About Everyday Discrimination

Student Activities Coordinator
For the UAS Whalesong

When helping to plan and organize the Power & Privilege (P&P) Symposium for the first time on the Juneau campus last year, I was often asked by students, colleagues, and community members: “Why?” They were genuinely curious, as you might be, too. Why is a Symposium that focuses on how social hierarchies and identities manifest themselves in our communities  needed or even relevant on a college campus? They’d say things like: ‘Aren’t we past that?’ ‘This sounds like a liberal issue.’ ‘People are making a bigger deal of these issues than they need to.’

As we work to prepare for next year’s event, I’d like to address some of these concerns through the context of microaggressions. We likely all recognize discrimination when it’s blatant, such as: the Orlando gay nightclub shooting and numerous examples of police brutality against members of racial minority groups in the last year. These macroaggressions might be dismissed or minimized by some as extreme, isolated incidents. But many scholars, social justice advocates, and people of minority status see these macroaggressions as indicative of larger societal inequities in the United States. Continue reading “The Symposium Continued: How to Do Something About Everyday Discrimination”

Thoughts on the Power and Privilege Symposium

Peer Advisor & SAB Member
For the UAS Whalesong

As a current member of our Student Activities Board and a past Student Activities staff I was delighted to hear about the Power & Privilege Symposium coming to UAS. The Power & Privilege Symposium (P&P Symposium) was adapted to our UAS campus from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and came to our campus by way of our Student Activities Board. As a board, we sent two students to our regional conference (National Association of Campus Activities- West) and through the education sessions there, one of our staff members Tara Olson and one of the students, Felix Thillet Jr. learned about this symposium from the Whitman College students themselves. Continue reading “Thoughts on the Power and Privilege Symposium”

The Symposium Continued: Decolonizing the Curriculum

Professor of History, Chair of Social Sciences
For the UAS Whalesong

Who speaks? Who’s heard? And how many voices are heard? In my work as a teaching professor, these are the questions I continually ask myself when making decisions about decolonizing the curriculum in my history courses.  For me, it’s a work in progress – for nearly twenty years now at UAS, with another dozen years of teaching history at the secondary level and as a university instructor before that. How to decolonize my history courses? I don’t have authoritative answers, but I do have a few principles to follow. Continue reading “The Symposium Continued: Decolonizing the Curriculum”

An Afternoon with Hieu

dylyn-petersonBY DYLYN PETERSON
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Hieu Minh Nguyen began his poetry reading at the Symposium with a request for every member of the audience to make their favorite animal noise. I missed out on what sound he made, but I went with “borf borf,” as is logical. He related to us the anxiety he felt flying into Alaska on election night as a queer Vietnamese man, saying he was happy to learn that Juneau is “an island of blue in a sea of red.” His performance was awesome. I made sure to buy a copy of his book after. In so doing, I heard that Kolene James was going to be showing him around town the following day, and asked if Serena and I could tag along.

The answer was yes. Continue reading “An Afternoon with Hieu”

Notes from the Symposium

dylyn-petersonBY DYLYN PETERSON
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

I first arrived at the University at the beginning of the third session of the first annual Power and Privilege Symposium. Upon seeing the program, I was disappointed to see that every talk I wanted to attend conflicted with something more-or-less compulsory. During the fourth session, when my partner, Serena, was set to present, there were three I wanted to go to. Sigh. Suffice to say I am very pleased by the prospect of the Symposium being a two-day event next year. Continue reading “Notes from the Symposium”

UAS Power and Privilege Symposium

kasey-chen-1BY KASEY CHEN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

On November 9, the UAS campus will see its first Power and Privilege Symposium, a conference aimed at encouraging UAS and Juneau community members to speak and learn about issues relating to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, body size, ability, mental illness, class, and their intersectionalities. The Symposium will consist of keynote speeches and breakout sessions with experts as well as presentations from UAS students. Continue reading “UAS Power and Privilege Symposium”