UW-Platteville to host UW System Reps’ Inclusivity Summit

Written by Laurie Hamer on |
Markee Pioneer Student Center on UW-Platteville campus

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will host the UW System Representatives’ Inclusivity Summit Friday, April 12 through Saturday, April 13 in the university’s Markee Pioneer Student Center with a film showing in Lundeen Lecture Hall. The conference is free and open to all UW-Platteville students, faculty and staff.

The summit is sponsored by the UW System Student Representatives, the statewide student governance body that represents all 180,000 students from each of the 26 campuses within the UW System. The group works to actively promote shared governance, represent student interests, and advocate for student rights at both the state and federal level. Funding for the summit is being provided by the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Education.

Jordan Roberson, a junior political science major at UW-Platteville and the director of inclusion for the UW System Representatives, and the other UW System Representatives have been planning the summit since August.

The goal of the summit is to hold an open and honest conversation about difficult issues related to diversity, inclusion and equity in an ever-changing society.

The summit will include talks by UW-Platteville faculty, as well as a film viewing.  Dr. Pip Gordon, assistant professor of English, will give the keynote address. 

“It is wonderful that this event is coming to UW-Platteville because it gives us a chance to showcase ways in which we have worked to address inclusiveness and diversity on our rural campus,” said Dr. Pip Gordon, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville. “I hope that attendees leave the summit with a sense that inclusiveness is a central part of the mission of all UW System schools, and that student governance plays a vital role in bringing resources together, from faculty to staff to students, to further that mission.”

Gordon’s keynote address, “Getting Real about Intersectionality,” will be on Saturday in the University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center, at 1 p.m. He will explore the tensions that can arise when intersectional identities encounter hierarchies of privilege. He will use the recent hit FX show “Pose” as a starting point to examine race and sexual orientation and then move into real-world examples of how power trumps the nuance of individuality and of how the limits of our epistemologies often fail to allow us to give real accounts of ourselves.

Also on Saturday, Dr. Terry Burns, professor of English and former chair of Faculty Senate at UW-Platteville, will present “The Politics of Not Listening: Fundamentalism, Essentialism, and Equal Representation on College Campuses” in the University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center, at 10 a.m.

Burns will lead participants in a workshop that looks at the trap of equating political views with some essential quality – race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, economic class – of that person. After reflecting upon recent research showing the simple correlation between reading literary works by those different from oneself to an increase in compassion, Burns will ask participants to take the role of elected student officials and lead a workshop that challenges each person to imagine what kind of questions they might ask to build a better narrative about the diverse groups of students they represent.

Following, Jaime Collins, director of marketing and communications at Southwest Health in Platteville, will present “Girl in the Mirror” in the Markee Pioneer Student Center at 11 a.m. Collins will share her personal experience, lacing it with details that serve to inspire empathy while opening eyes to gender identity oppression, traditional and oppositional sexism, transphobia, transmisogyny and more. She will discuss the different forms of privilege and highlight how to be mindful of privilege as a pathway to celebrating diversity.

On Friday, Dr. Josh Anderson, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville, will lead a discussion of the film “Teach Us All” in Lundeen Lecture Hall at 8 p.m. The film explores the ways in which segregation is still a problem in public schools in the United States.

“Segregation, double segregation, and triple segregation – these are modern terms for an age-old problem: disproportional access to quality education,” said Anderson. “Although Brown v. Board of Education ruled state laws separating children by the color of their skin unconstitutional, de facto segregation today divides America’s students by race, income and language. Beyond a dialogue on the nature and significance of equitable education for all students, how can this discussion and others like it explore potential solutions to the problem?”

UW Student Representatives, which include the student government president and vice president of each campus, meet eight times per academic year across the state. The meetings provide an opportunity for student government leaders to discuss issues that have an impact on their campuses and beyond, share innovative ideas and projects, find solutions to problems and work collectively on issues that face students. 

Summit schedule:
Dr. Josh Anderson, Friday, April 12, Lundeen Lecture Hall, 8 p.m.
Dr. Terry Burns, Saturday, April 13, University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center, 10 a.m.
Jaime Collins, Saturday, April 13, University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center, 11 a.m.
Dr. Pip Gordon, Saturday, April 13, University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center, 1 p.m.