Diversity podcast discusses social issues


Sofia Rositani Arts & Entertainment

Bernadotte SufkaFeatures & Opinions Editor

The Diversity in Higher Ed. Podcast, hosted by Vice President of the Diversity and Equity Programs Diane Ariza and Alum Shante Hanks, brings social issues, diversity, equity, and inclusion into a podcast for anyone with a Spotify account.

“These conversations are very focused on diversity in higher education, what does that means when it comes to how students think about it, how do you think about it in the spaces of a classroom, what does that look like as a peer educator, so we want to have dialogues around that in difficult not easy answers,” Ariza said. “But we want a space where we can educate as well so that if your challenge was racism or bias in a classroom, for example, and you are having some issues with, it how can we educate ourselves to what that is and be better.”

There have been three podcast episodes so far. They were focused on the election. Ariza said she would like to do more with the podcast with students and faculty.

“I would like to bring in the agitators because it’s easy to bring the champions and those who buy into the work, but I want to bring in the naysayers and talk about why this is so difficult to talk about. I want to bring in more students that see this as so difficult that they would never raise this in their classroom.” Ariza said.

She said her favorite part of this podcast was working with the students because they had good energy and were not afraid to talk about their work. It gives her motivation to continue doing the podcast and more student-driven episodes.

The students who were in the student activist episode are planning a town hall for work with other students.

Student activist Jamil Harp was in an episode of the podcast talking about what it is like being a student activist while in college, how it looks in the community and where it needs to improve.

Harp said he had a great time doing the podcast and that he would definitely do it again.

“I hope students learned a little bit more about my journey and hear about some of the things in which they could do I think any other student can sit on a podcast just the same way I sat on one and speak about what they want to see at Southern,” Harp said.

Introducing the new diversity podcast on campus has brought the COVID-19 guidelines into effect as well. While podcast episodes are held in person with multiple people, it was moved virtually for one person who was a guest on the podcast.

“I wish the podcast would be in-person. It would have been more interesting,” said Jonathon Wharton, a professor in the political science department.

“It was not clear, and I feel badly about it. I apologize for that. I know in podcasts it’s usually done in person and you could see people’s reactions and be a part of everything,” said Wharton.

For launching the first podcast, problems could occur and for the first time, it went well. Diane Ariza was the host of the new podcast.

“What I really respect about her is that, and I wish people would know that she’s not just a vice president or administrator. She’s also a well-known academic as well. That’s one of the main things I really respect about her,” said Wharton.

Wharton said he is glad Ariza understood his points on the political side during the podcast and added it. She went along with his view and maintained a professional attitude, along with her experience.

Photo credit: Jessica Guerrucci

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