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The Antelope

The Antelope

Think Tank discussion introduces new inclusion initiatives

LGBTQ pride flags

UNK staff and students discussed initiatives to increase diversity on campus at the Transformation Think Tank on Tuesday. The event took place in Copeland Hall and over  Zoom.

The Think Tank is new to UNK but has been a success so far. An estimated 35 members gathered for the first meeting of 2022. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives were emphasized by UNK Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Maha Younes.

“The goal is for all of us to participate in an open dialogue to improve structures and policies on campus,” Younes said. “These are our students, our children… and we want a better society for them.”

The collaboration named several projects that were in place to ensure students have the best experience at UNK.

Younes touched on increased efforts and development for faculty regarding implicit biases and opposition to pronouns.  Plans that could assist students with disabilities were also discussed.

The bathrooms near the Antelope Bookstore in the Nebraskan Student Union are planning to be changed.  They will be converted to single use instead of gendered. This change has already happened to the bathrooms across from Suite 142G in the NSU.

UNK also hopes to host an art project in celebration of Black History Month. 

The proposals would be reviewed by the Nebraska Arts Council. The event would call for diverse artists around the state. 

Students and faculty alike are excited for the changes to come. 

“For central Nebraska, there’s only so much diversity,” said UNK sophomore Ryan Sikes, president of PRISM, an organization focusing on supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community. “UNK is going in the right direction and brings diversity to Kearney.” 

Sikes encourages staff to connect with students on a personal level to better understand them.

“I think situations are different for every student,” Sikes said. “Make it known to them that communication is wanted and welcomed. Being a supportive, open person starts with kindness and respect, not just with weekly meetings.”

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