MCLA Day of Conversations

MCLA's attempts to establish an inclusive and welcoming community for all students have existed for several decades.

In March of 1990, a group of MCLA professors concerned about the campus community’s behavior of prejudice and racism created the Day of Conversations, a series of workshops centered on the topics of diversity and inclusion. They designed the workshops to create a foundation of positivity for the campus to move forward in confronting issues of diversity and equality. The conference inspired the idea of future courses discussing topics of diversity and inclusion with separate classes introducing the topics in greater detail. Students empowered by the Day of Conversations spoke out against the campus for not having enough diversity and for the prejudice they faced due to stereotyping.

According to the Beacon, following the Day of Conversations, students and faculty founded the club GLASS (Gay, Lesbian, Allied Student Society). In fall of 1990, GLASS brought Gay Pride week to MCLA to make MCLA an LGB (at the time no mention of any other groups) safe campus. During this week a number of MCLA students reacted by creating an informal club called SSALG (Students Standing Against Lesbians and Gays) and hung homophobic and derogatory posters around campus. Writing letters to the Beacon, professors expressed their disappointment. One very upset professor wrote to SSALG and told them that what they did was equivalent to what the KKK represents.

Today we can see the themes from the Day of Conversations integrated into the education of the First Year Seminar classes, where sessions are dedicated to the topics of diversity and inclusion, as well as in the workshop trainings for creating Safe Zones for the LGBTQIA+ community. The college now offers multiple resources for students seeking support, such as the Susan B. Anthony Women’s Center, Identity and Gender Equality Resource Center (IGE), Queer Student Union (QSU), and Campus Conversations on Race.