Campuswide Effort Aims to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement launches yearlong campaign

OXFORD, Miss. – Seeking to create a more inclusive campus environment at the University of Mississippi, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is introducing a new educational framework.

“All In at UM” is a yearlong effort that includes guest speakers, workshops, dialogues and other programs to expand cultural awareness, challenge bias attitudes and behaviors, and increase campuswide support for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The campaign started last year with the intent to increase awareness of the bias incident reporting form as a resource for students, faculty and staff who witnessed or were targets of bias on campus,” said Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “After a successful kick-off last spring semester, our team decided to expand the campaign to connect education and programs to address trends that we saw in the analysis of those reports.”

The staff also wanted to reimagine heritage month programming to be more intentional and intersectional, expanding attention to the multiple ways that individuals and groups engage and experience their cultures.

The team recognized the importance of fostering a welcoming environment for students; not only on campus, but also throughout Oxford, Caldwell said.

“The campaign is designed to solicit involvement from members of the campus and the local community as we expand the impact of the work that is happening in both areas,” said Tanya Nichols, project manager in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

The campaign is composed of the following three components:

All In. All Year.: Identity and Inclusion Every Day – Each fall and spring semester, the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement will develop a calendar of events highlighting all events hosted by the Division of Community Engagement, CICCE, campus departments, student organizations and community partners. New events will be added to the monthly calendars they are developed.

All In at UM: All Included. All Integral. All In. – Bias awareness and bias intervention trainings, which began in April 2019, will continue being promoted this fall. Plans are to provide 30 trainings for student organizations and departments on rotating basis.

We’re All In: All Invited. All Welcome. All LOU. – Bias awareness training initiative for local businesses will be offered in late spring/summer 2020.

“The reason that this campaign is called ‘All In at UM’ is because making our campus climate more inclusive is everyone’s responsibility,” said Shawnboda Mead, assistant vice chancellor for diversity. “We are working to balance the important recognition heritage months with the need for a more intersectional approach to programming.

“With this new approach, we can be certain that all identities are elevated and included as part of the conversation throughout the year, not just during one designated month of the year.”

A key feature of the program is the campuswide “Dialogues on Diversity,” which will include speakers who address a specific topic and allow the campus to learn new perspectives and apply dialogue and deliberation skills through civil community discourse. Scheduled topics are:

  • Sept. 9: “Engaging Inclusion through a Class Lens” – Becki Martinez will provide an explanation of how people can experience and straddle class in the middle, upper or even elitist class contexts of the academy. She will bring social class identity to the forefront of our consciousness, conversations and behaviors and compel those in the academy to recognize classism and reimagine higher education to welcome and support those from poor and working class backgrounds.
  • Sept. 19: “Intentionally Intersectional Leadership” – Payton Head, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, where he represented 28,000 students as president of the student government, will discuss inclusive leadership strategies that focus on being intentionally intersectional in the representation of communities different from one’s own. Head also talks about his own experiences navigating white LGBTQ spaces as a black man and black liberation spaces as someone with a queer identity.
  • Oct. 29: “Disabusing Disability” – Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, an entrepreneur, lecturer, disabilities advocate and medical faculty member at the University of Michigan, tells his personal story of a spinal cord injury in 2013. He also discusses the importance of individuals acknowledging their own implicit biases about diversity and shares how institutions can increase diversity, equity and inclusion and disseminate that knowledge throughout their institutions.

All Dialogues on Diversity will be held at 6 p.m. in the Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom. Other events scheduled during the semester include:

  • Sept. 4: “Two Towns of Jasper” film screening and Q&A with visiting documentarian Marco Williams – 6 p.m. at the Malco Oxford Commons Cinema.
  • Sept. 12: “Exploring the Racial Geography of UT-Austin” – Presented by Edmund T. Fordon and Celeste Henery, 4 p.m. in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory.
  • Sept. 19: “Student Activism and Leadership Summit” – Begins at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.
  • Sept. 26: “Satan and Adam” film screening and Q&A with documentary narrator Adam Gussow, 4 p.m. in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory.
  • Oct. 1: LGBTQ+ History Month Keynote Address – Speaker to be announced, 4 p.m. in Bryant Hall Gallery.
  • Oct. 16: “Housing in Oxford: Translating Evicted to Our LOU Community” – 6 p.m. in Bryant Hall Gallery.
  • Oct. 27: “The Longest Table” – Bringing diverse student organizations together to dine at tables meeting end-to-end. Begins at 5 p.m. in the Grove.

For a complete calendar of fall events, visit