Diversity, equity and inclusion class offered at QU

Nicole McIsaac, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University partnered with EverFi to establish a new online training course that centers around diversity, equity and inclusion as a part of the university’s 10-point plan to advance racial justice within the community. 

“This course gives us a chance to create a baseline for students who might have never touched diversity training or concepts of identity, intersectionality and bias,” said Daymyen Layne, director of multicultural education and training at Quinnipiac. “It’s about broadening the scope in terms of cultural intelligence.”

Connor Lawless

The optional online learning module is structured to take students through exercises dealing with identity, implicit bias, microaggressions and interactive situations to help work through scenarios that students might encounter. All undergraduate students received an email on March 2, regarding the introduction of the course within the community. Prizes are offered to students who participate in it. 

“If we’re trying to build this inclusive excellence driven community, why aren’t we trying to move that needle a little bit and push to the envelope in terms of what students are learning and how they’re thinking about these concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Layne said. “This is just one more tool to help us do that.” 

Layne said establishing the training course was one of the many goals within the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement and has already been tested for over a year within different student leadership groups and organizations to see how students would react to the structure of the module. 

“It was a really positive response,” Layne said. “Now we are at the point where we need to get this into as many people’s hands as possible.” 

Joshua Delgado, a junior history major in the 4+1 MAT program for secondary education, said that although he has not taken the course yet, he finds it important for the Quinnipiac community to participate in it and fully intends to complete it himself. 

“I really do believe this is a great stepping stone to talk more about sensitive issues regarding diversity, equity and inclusion,” Delgado said. “As a future educator and a minority student, I’m genuinely interested in what QU has put into this course.” 

Delgado said that despite the course not being “the end all be all,” he hopes it will bridge the divide between the multitude of people that come to Quinnipiac. 

“QU is seeing an even greater influx of BIPOC students, but we’re unfortunately seeing an even greater increase in issues surrounding race, diversity, equity and inclusion,” Delgado said. “Hopefully, the more we start talking about these issues and educate ourselves and each other on these matters, we can become the QU that the administration frequently emails and tells us that we are.” 

Similar to Delgado, other students acknowledged the weight that this course has for students during their time at Quinnipiac and beyond. 

“Everyone has their own personal background, culture, ethnic identity, sexuality and religion,” said Kimberly Janeczko, a sophomore nursing major. “It is important that we as a collective society not only acknowledge our differences, but educate ourselves on them so that we can become a group of people that cherishes each other’s differences, rather than using them to categorize and discriminate against others.” 

In addition to emphasizing the significance behind the education and discussion of this topic, some students said they wished more people on campus talked about the course.

“All students on campus need to realize that this course is not something that we just complete because we have to,” Janeczko said. “However, if the administration does not emphasize its importance in more than just one or two emails sent out, then I do not think the student body’s mindset will change. And to me, that is quite disheartening.” 

The goal is to make the course a cornerstone of the Quinnipiac educational experience for students moving forward. 

“We’re looking at making this a natural part of the QStart checklist, and we’re looking at other pieces of how we can further engrain this into the Quinnipiac community, whether that’s different ways to interact with faculty, first-year seminars or writing,” Layne said. “We are constantly looking at more ways to have these conversations.”