Annual diversity breakfast stresses importance of acceptance

Over 350 Marshall University students, staff and faculty will come together to enjoy breakfast while being educated on the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The Marshall University Office of Intercultural Affairs will host its annual diversity breakfast Monday, in the Memorial Student Center.

Associate Vice President for intercultural affairs Maurice Cooley said this breakfast is imperative to the development of academia and our global society.

“These experiences are designed to elevate your awareness and importance about living in an inclusive society and embracing all people, irrespective of their differences from ourselves,” Cooley said.

For over 15 years the Office of Multicultural Affairs, now known as the Office of Intercultural Affairs have produced a diversity breakfast, challenging the minds of academia while giving the opportunity for the university to reassess the institution’s perspective on diversity and inclusion.

“We’re here to teach people to be prepared to be leaders in global society, so we need to teach people the importance of breaking down the walls to barriers that people in the world have,” Cooley said. “We can not achieve the goals that we should achieve, globally or institutionally, if we continue to build barriers, stones and walls that keep us separated and have so much constant discord. It is out of harmony.”

This year’s keynote address will be given by dean of the College of Arts and Media Donald Van Horn.

Van Horn said he hopes to contribute to the mission by helping people think about what we need to do as human beings to further diversity and to promote inclusiveness.

“Diversity starts on an individual basis,” Van Horn said. “Every human being has a responsibility to embrace others, regardless of what they look like or what their beliefs are.”

Van Horn said the institution has a responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion here on Marshall’s campus.

“As an institution, one of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure that our students who graduate, have a true sense of global citizenship,” Van Horn said. “It’s a compelling responsibility to help our students value differences and to embrace diversity because it is so critical to their future.”

“It builds from here, to the city of Huntington, to the State of West Virginia and then to the world,” Van Horn said.

Both Van Horn and Cooley stressed the importance of university students, staff and faculty to attend this year’s diversity breakfast.

“Even in 2016, it is amazing, that we still have so much strife, turmoil, hatred and disparity in our lives among good people, intelligent people, because one person is different than another,” Cooley said. “The color of their skin, their beliefs, their religions, their personal lifestyle – it is a continuous fight, a continuous journey.”

The Marshall University Diversity Breakfast will be held Monday morning in the Don Morris Room in the Memorial Student Center.

Darius Booker can be contacted at [email protected].