A Class Like No Other

Posted: October 3, 2011 by jerkmag in ZONE -- syracuse
Tags: , , , , ,

Imagine if there were classes in which you could discuss race, gender and sexual orientation AND receive three credits. Well, there is such a class here at Syracuse. The Intergroup Dialogue is three-credit course in which students engage in discussions about race, gender and sexual identity and how these issues are relevant to our campus. I enrolled in the class about race and ethnicity, and for the past four weeks, I’ve taken on new perspectives about race and ethnicity here in the United States. This is not only because of what has been discussed by the class facilitators, but also by my fellow Syracuse students. The intergroup dialogue was initiated and supported by Chancellor Nancy Cantor for several reasons.

Unfortunately, Syracuse University is one of the most segregated college campuses in America and many faculty, students, and alumni see this as a problem because Syracuse is also one the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation. From the quad to Bird Library to Greek life, the racial and ethnic divide on this campus is rather transparent. But an issue such as race and ethnicity can be difficult to talk openly about.

The Intergroup Dialogue relies on student anonymity and confidence to ensure that your statements and views are not told to others on campus. Intergroup Dialogue is unlike other classes that I have taken, and the class does not insist up on the instructor taking the lead, but the students. This class demands an open mind and ability to take on the views of others. In a society in which loud and raucous debate is the norm, The Intergroup Dialogue encourages civil discussion so that we may love others and, almost as importantly, ourselves.

-Brysan Brown

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