Empowering Student Voices

Marybeth Gasman, in a recent article for the Washington Post, describes obstacles many professionals of color, mainly African Americans, face when applying for faculty positions in the U.S.

Sadly, this article points out how our current higher education system is far from reaching equity. Nevertheless, Gasman acknowledges that “ensuring that African Americans have opportunity and equity means interacting with them daily, having to listen their voices and perspective,” and this holds true for all minority groups.

UC Irvine will host the 28th Students of Color Conference this coming November 19 and 20, once again bringing together student representatives from each campus across the UC system. The annual event remains as one of the most important conferences supported by the UC Student Association (UCSA).

The conference plays an important role in empowering student’s voices across the UC system and the U.S. The opportunity of addressing social inequality issues during the conference can ultimately lead to prepared student leaders who can fight for a better higher education system, which severely lacks an inclusive environment for faculty and staff members.

The 2016 Students of Color Conference will focus on providing UC students of color and allies an open and safe forum to identify, discuss, and propose solutions to social problems directly affecting them in the UC system and nationwide.

Workshops will also remind young generations about the historical struggle their ancestors went through to achieve social equity. The understanding of previous social issues will allow students of color to put into context social inequalities still seen to this day.

The combined goal of these workshops is that each student of color reaches his or her “liberation” — meaning the ability to defy discriminatory policies and ensure social justice for all students.

Conference organizers intend to promote the creation a stable and strong community of students of color from all historically underrepresented social groups. Indeed, communities achieve much more than individual groups.

To attend the conference, UC student delegates from each campus can fill an application to apply for free registration to the conference, while individuals wishing to attend pay a minimal amount.

The conference is open to high school and community college students, community groups, and any allies who are interested in the conference’s topics. Currently, the agenda keeps being updated, and for more information, please visit the conference’s website. Registration closes on November 1.