The University of Alaska campus in Sitka wants to empower students and local residents to implement a radical social agenda through an upcoming virtual speaker series titled, “Equity & Justice.”
Set to run Sept. 10-24, the series includes five workshops arguing that white privilege, institutional racism, and merit-based leadership are all forces of inequality that must be abolished.
The UAS Sitka Campus, which is part of the state funded University of Alaska system, issued a notice promoting the series.
On Sept. 10 the first workshop examines “informal” racism and policies that “inadvertently perpetuate unequal opportunity” in education, employment and other settings.
The next presentation, on Sept. 14, features Dr. Amer Ahmed who will argue that awarding leadership positions to people based “individual achievement” is unfair because it reinforces the message that “individuals should operate according to dominant cultural norms in order to succeed.”
Instead of looking at personal achievement in identifying future leaders, Ahmed argues that we should “begin to conceive of leadership in a fundamentally different way that accounts for the need for intercultural skills.” His goal is to push a leadership model that “emphasizes community development, inclusion and equity rather than individual achievement.”
On Sept. 17 participants will listen to a talk which claims that rights, access and privileges are typically awarded in an elaborate scheme that “pays special attention to race, gender, class, etc.” In order to change this system that “was established long before anyone now living was born” activists must “embark on a cultural transformative process to bring about equity.”
The final talk will be delivered on Sept. 24 by Dionne Bradly-Howard, a Mt. Edgecumbe High School teacher, who will urge Southeast Alaskans to apply their new insights to fundamentally transform their community.
Sitka Campus Director, Dr. Paul Kraft had high praise for the speaker series.
“The topics of equity, diversity and inclusion are critically important in our world today,” he said. “I believe that as members of the university we should be ensuring these conversations are occurring and we are on the forefront of struggling to integrate what we are learning into our workplace, classrooms and community.”