UI envisions expanding community

FILE+-+In+this+file+photo%2C+UI+students%2C+staff+and+administrators+gather+at+the+Latino+Native+American+Culture+Center+to+hold+a+community+conversation+with+President+Harreld+on+October+6%2C+2016.+Harreld+and+then-UI+Student+Government+President+Rachel+Zuckerman+held+a+series+of+discussions+at+the+UI%27s+four+cultural+centers+to+touch+on+various+issues+members+of+cultural+organizations+and+students+belonging+to+minority+and+underrepresented+groups+face+on+campus.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2C+Simone+Banks-Mackey%2C+file%29
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UI envisions expanding community

FILE - In this file photo, UI students, staff and administrators gather at the Latino Native American Culture Center to hold a community conversation with President Harreld on October 6, 2016. Harreld and then-UI Student Government President Rachel Zuckerman held a series of discussions at the UI's four cultural centers to touch on various issues members of cultural organizations and students belonging to minority and underrepresented groups face on campus. (The Daily Iowan, Simone Banks-Mackey, file)

FILE - In this file photo, UI students, staff and administrators gather at the Latino Native American Culture Center to hold a community conversation with President Harreld on October 6, 2016. Harreld and then-UI Student Government President Rachel Zuckerman held a series of discussions at the UI's four cultural centers to touch on various issues members of cultural organizations and students belonging to minority and underrepresented groups face on campus. (The Daily Iowan, Simone Banks-Mackey, file)

FILE - In this file photo, UI students, staff and administrators gather at the Latino Native American Culture Center to hold a community conversation with President Harreld on October 6, 2016. Harreld and then-UI Student Government President Rachel Zuckerman held a series of discussions at the UI's four cultural centers to touch on various issues members of cultural organizations and students belonging to minority and underrepresented groups face on campus. (The Daily Iowan, Simone Banks-Mackey, file)

FILE - In this file photo, UI students, staff and administrators gather at the Latino Native American Culture Center to hold a community conversation with President Harreld on October 6, 2016. Harreld and then-UI Student Government President Rachel Zuckerman held a series of discussions at the UI's four cultural centers to touch on various issues members of cultural organizations and students belonging to minority and underrepresented groups face on campus. (The Daily Iowan, Simone Banks-Mackey, file)

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UI leaders and members of cultural communities meet for the final set of community discussions.

By Elianna Novitch and Marissa Payne

[email protected]

University of Iowa leaders and cultural communities met this week to wrap up a series of discussions concerning campus diversity that started earlier in the semester.

The final discussions this week took place at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center and the Latino Native American Cultural Center.

During Tuesday night’s discussion at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, many students expressed concerns regarding programs for incoming international students to help them transition to campus life.

American students often have the chance to familiarize themselves with the UI campus during high school, said Alya Mohd, a member of the Malaysian Student Society. International students often do not have this chance, and they go through orientation programs separately.

UI Student Government President Rachel Zuckerman acknowledged this as a problem.

“It sets this expectation from the very beginning that we are different,” she said. “It’s isolating on both sides … We’re literally segregating from the second people set foot on campus.”

To combat this issue, UISG helped start international student tours this year.

The students present expressed appreciation for the tours but felt they lacked networking opportunities with domestic students because of separate international student-orientation programs. International student orientation takes place during the On Iowa! program.

UI President Bruce Harreld brought up the idea of including a group of domestic students with the international students during their orientation. However, final solutions have yet to be discussed.

“It might help both groups form relationships and soften the edge of us and them,” he said.

In addition to concerns about orientation, students discussed the Tippie Buddies program, which pairs international and domestic students in the Tippie College of Business.

Harreld also discussed renovations to the Asian Center with students and pondered the idea of a shared building that can be used among all the resource centers.

Later in the week, UI leaders reconvened for the final community conversation in the Latino Native American Center.

Thursday night’s community conversation was one of the most heavily attended out of the four.

“As a Native American, a big concern is being seen on campus and having our concerns be understood by President Harreld,” said UI senior Haley Henscheid. “We are not only marginalized on campus but also just generally. I think what we want to get out of this [discussion] is just having our voices heard.”

Members of the Latino and Native American community on campus had plenty to contribute to the conversation.

Some of the major issues that were discussed included recruitment and retention, funding for events, and the future of the cultural houses and resource center’s location on campus.

“We talk about recruitment, but you can’t do recruitment if you don’t have retention,” Henscheid said.

Another issue that was brought up following the discussion of recruitment and retention of students was increased representation and support for faculty and staff of the Latino and Native American population.

UI leaders were receptive to the issues brought to their attention from the four community conversations that took place this semester.

“You have to deal with differences,” Harreld said. “You have to respect people at the end of the day … We aren’t the same, but in that is our power. The diversity is a power.”

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