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Update on the open forum series: “BLM@Drake: Classroom Practices”

At the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, Faculty Senate, Student Senate, and Unity Roundtable collaborated to present "BLM@Drake: Classroom Practices," the first open forum in a series designed to address the needs of Black students, faculty, and staff on campus. Professor Jennifer Harvey of the Department of Religion shared research on the impact of unwelcoming classroom environments on the learning of Black students to set the stage for discussion. Next, four students, Jamie Rusan, Madyson Sklar, Morgan Coleman, and Brandon Weaver, shared experiences on campus as a further call to action. Then the 138 participants were invited into breakout rooms Deb DeLaet, David E. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Political Science, to discuss a document outlining actions to avoid and to implement in classroom settings, based on input from Drake students. Each participant was asked to commit to at least one positive action this semester. Student Jamie Rusan closed the session by reading a portion of the statement by Congressman John Lewis that appeared in the New York Times following his passing. A follow-up session on classroom practices was held on Oct.16.  

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