UP Diversity Dialogues

Maris Meyer, Managing Editor

The Office of Residential and Student Life held a “UP Diversity Dialogues” talk on ability on Wednesday, October 15thIt was held both in the Falcon Center conference rooms and virtually via WebEx. Evan Fossen, the Assistant Director of Student Life, and Dr. Nina Slota, a Professor of Psychology co-hosted the evening’s talk. “UP Diversity Dialogues” is an event on campus where students and faculty members can meet to discuss the variety of diversity on Fairmont State’s campus and to create a more inclusive environment.  

“I really just hope that it starts more conversations on campus and that we can provide [a] voice for the students that often feel unsupported or often go overlooked. The goal is really just to start conversations around these topics so that we can build a more inclusive and welcoming community” said Evan Fossen.  

During the event, Dr. Nina Slota spoke on the history of disability/ability and both she and Fossen talked about ways someone can provide “allyship” to those that might have a disability. Fossen also showed a video that quickly outlines the five most important things to remember about allyshipUnderstand your privilege, listen and do your homework, speak up not over, apologize when you make mistakes, and that “ally” is something you do not someone you are. A couple of students were able to share their own stories as well.  

The last thing that was discussed was the campus Accessibility Services Department. Accessibility Services is located in the Turley Center is suite 316. Amy Snively is the department Academic Coach and Program Specialist. She was able to talk about Accessibility Services and what they do. The Accessibility Service Centers’ goal is to “provide leadership and facilitate equal access to all institutional opportunities for students who have disabilities, so they may achieve their academic, personal and professional goals in preparation for responsible citizenship”. Some of the things they offer are consultation and training on disability-based topics, work with students and staff to make an inclusive campus, and provides services and facilitate accommodations to those who need them. The Office of Accessibility Services can be contacted at (304)-333-3661 or [email protected] 

The “UP Diversity Dialogues” talk on ability was the first of what is hopefully a series of events. Some of the other topics that will be covered include race, gender & sexuality, women’s rights, religion, socioeconomic status, age, and national origin.  

If you are interested in getting involved in the “UP Diversity Dialogues” events, either as an attendee or a speaker you can reach out to Evan Fossen. He can be contacted at (304)-333-3647 or [email protected].