Published: Nov. 4, 2013

The 19th annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit will be held at CU-Boulder Nov. 13-14. This year's theme, "Building the Road Map: Realizing Diversity and Inclusion for CU-Boulder, City of Boulder and Boulder County," is predicated in part on a 2003 statement from retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "[The Supreme Court expects] that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." O'Connor was commenting on the Supreme Court's ruling that diversity can be used in university admission decisions.

Alphonse Keasley, who has been involved with the summit since it began 19 years ago, says the Summit Planning Committee is using this year's summit to help the campus and community move toward a place that "exemplifies diversity, intercultural understanding and community engagement."

"This year we will be taking a look at the history of our campus efforts related to diversity and inclusion," said Keasley, CU-Boulder's assistant vice chancellor for campus climate and community engagement. "We also will be looking at what it is we want to do, not only on campus, but also within the city and county. Thus the theme 'Building the Road Map.' We really would like to see this year as a year where we launch into some specific actions that we can take year after year."

Keasley discusses the summit in the following Q & A.

Who should attend the Diversity and Inclusion Summit?

This effort has always been for the entire campus. There's a misconception out there that this is only for people who have been marginalized. If diversity and inclusion are going to have any chance, it can't be just the work of those who are impacted by it, it has to be the entire community.

What are some highlights of this year's Summit?

While we feel the Summit offers something for everyone, and all of our panels and speakers are critical to the mission and success of the Summit, I'll mention a few here:

  • Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will offer insights on the critical importance of diversity and inclusion for the state of Colorado. Nov. 13, 9:30 - 10 a.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.
  • CU-Boulder Professor Adam Bradley will offer an address entitled "A Hip-Hop Road Map to a Diverse Future." Nov. 13, 10:05 - 10:35 a.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.
  • "Where Have We Come From?" panel will cover significant milestones from the campus and community. Nov. 13, 10:45 - 11:50 a.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.
  • Keynote presentation: Patricia Gurin of the University of Michigan will discuss "Engaging Diversity: More Important Than Ever." Professor Gurin will discuss the social science evidence that was key in the 2003 Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling on the educational benefit of diversity. Nov. 13, noon - 1:30 p.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.
  • "Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?" panel discussion that will build on an understanding of the actions, policies and dialogues that have shaped the direction of diversity and inclusivity within the University of Colorado and greater Boulder community. Nov. 14, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. in UMC 235.
  • "Diversity, Innovation, and a Proposed New College: College of Media, Communication and Information" panel discussion. Nov. 14, 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. in UMC Aspen Rooms.

What is the "take away" from the Summit?

My hope is that not only will attendees have advanced their thinking, or become more aware, but that there are ways in which people will find that they can take action. That's been our watch word for at least the last five years. How do you take action around things that you think could make the campus more inclusive and more of a multi-cultural setting.

Why do you think this is a "must attend" event on campus?

We have worked very hard to bring cutting-edge information to the campus, and this is a fleeting moment. We don't record these events, and we feel that we need the intricacies of this kind of human to human interaction. No matter what job we do, or what we study or engage in in our day to day stuff, the reality is we are always going to be in relationships with each other. I don't care what it is. Whether you're just going to the grocery store, or working with the public on a day to day basis, we're always going to be in relationships with other human beings. And diversity is one of our toughest areas of being human with our fellow human beings. So I think investing some time and energy in the Diversity and Inclusion Summit is an effort well worth making.