According to Branda J. Allen, Boise State and other national colleges have work to do in the way they review, accept and interpret difference on campus. Allen visited from Colorado State in Denver where she serves as a professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion.
Using text heavy slides, a method Allen doesn’t usually approve of, she illustrated the many ways diversity presents itself on college campuses and urged faculty, and students, to accept and include all people from varying backgrounds at Boise State.
“You really should avoid slides with a lot of words on them,” said Allen drawing laughter from the audience. “And do as I say, not as I do.”
Allen based her talk on a statement from Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire and stressed an emphasis on acceptance of diversity in its many forms.
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Allen said, quoting the philosopher.
Offering years of experience as a an educator and advocate for social change, Allen advocated for Boise State to take heed of Freire’s comments and move forward as a progressive college.
“So, if this were an either or for you,” Allen said. ”Student, faculty, or community, which of those function would you hope Boise State is working toward?
Students like senior communication major CJ Mckinney attended the speech to learn more about creating an all-inclusive environment at Boise State.
“I am very interested in diversity because I represent two diverse ethnic groups, I am both white and black and throughout my entire life people have tried to put me in one box or another,” Mckinney said.
Mckinney enjoyed Allen’s comments urging students and faculty to stop segmenting others into mental categories based on race, sexual orientation, or age.
“I think it’s cool she talked about how I should be able to act, react, and make the choices that I make without others expecting me to be a certain way based on my race,” Mckinney said.