SMC Interim President addresses issues of diversity, inclusion

first_imgOn Tuesday night, Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board hosted a discussion and Q&A during which students were invited to ask Interim Saint Mary’s President Nancy Nekvasil questions on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion on campus. Chair of the Board of Trustees Mary Burke, vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson, director of multicultural services Gloria Jenkins and vice president for mission Judy Fean also attended the event. Junior Jazmin Herrera, vice president of Student Diversity Board (SDB), said the Q&A was held in order to address concerns regarding the resignation of Jan Cervelli and the continuation of the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts.“We are all supporters of creating an inclusive community here at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “SDB along with other students are concerned as to where the College is now heading, with the goal of achieving a welcoming environment for all students. We ask this because [former] President [Jan] Cervelli was not only committed to achieving this goal but was also open to working with SDB to make this happen.”Nekvasil said that, going forward, the College will continue to focus on diversity, inclusion and equity. “I think that [diversity and inclusion] start with at least discussing things openly,” she said. “I will tell you that faculty, at least for several years even before President Cervelli came, were required to go to community events that dealt with diversity, inclusion and equity. We now have an interim director of diversity and inclusion, Leslie Wang, whose job this year is to help us define what this looks like so that we can actually begin to make a few more strides.”The College will continue to develop as a community that fosters diversity and inclusion as well as a community that focuses on retention as much as recruitment, Nekvasil said. “We can’t just do the recruiting part, both for students, faculty and staff, we have to form a community that welcomes people and that accepts people for who they are, where they are,” she said. “Unfortunately, you can’t change human behavior, but what we can do is try and get more and more people who believe in treating other people with respect and dignity.”Regarding diversity and inclusion, vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said the administration has created the position of director of First Year experience and retention. The director, Shay Jolly, will report to both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs and track student experience from their first consideration of the College to the first semester of their sophomore year. Johnson said the Office of Student Affairs investigates every complaint of bias and harassment brought to it, although there are many cases not reported to Johnson and her team. “Every complaint that comes through our office is investigated and handled through our code of student conduct process, which is a confidential process,” she said. “The big problem for me, though, is that very few complaints make it to my office. Students tell faculty, staff or each other about something that’s happened on campus and they never go online and file out a bias report. We can’t investigate things we don’t know about.”As the campus grows more diverse, the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion become more complex. Gender identity and transgender identities are at the forefront of this conversation, and Johnson said the College has a practice set in place for accepting transgender students. “Saint Mary’s doesn’t have a policy we have a practice,” she said. “To admit students, they must legally be women, either born as a woman or transgendered into a woman legally, but we do graduate students. So, if a student is here, comes in as a woman, starts the transition process, lives as a man, starts becoming a man, they are going to be able to finish their classes and graduate from here. The only time we would say no to a student is if they identified, legally, as a male.”Nekvasil said, especially with issues of diversity and inclusion, she will try to make things as transparent as possible for students, faculty and staff. “The vice president and I have met three or four times since this has happened, so we are really serious about making some headway, making things work, making decisions and moving ahead,” she said. “We hope that very soon there will be real action that you will see. I also want to be really transparent, so I want to meet with groups periodically, so that you know what we’re doing.”At the Q&A, several students brought issues of socioeconomic and racial disparity at the College to Nekvasil’s attention, including the disparity present in the room, as the number of those in attendance at the SDB diversity and inclusion Q&A were significantly less than those at the student assembly beforehand. Nekvasil said she will always give the same message no matter the crowd. “The message that I would give to you, I would give to that full crowd that was here before, and that’s not going to change,” she said. ”It’s not going to be a different message.”Tags: Diversity, inclusion, Nancy Nekvasil, saint mary’slast_img read more

06 Pick a peck of pickles

first_imgBy Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaCountless gardeners have planted cucumbers with one thought in mind: pickles. Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 6 Cucumbers are easy to grow, said George Boyhan, a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”But they do require some space to spread out,” he said.A number of diseases and insects attack cucumbers, he said, but they’re still fairly easy to grow from transplants or seeds. They’re easier to grow in the spring and early summer. In the fall, insects can be troublesome.Males outnumberedIn packets of cucumber seeds, Boyhan said, 90 percent of the seeds may be brightly colored and 10 percent plain. The bright color indicates a seed treatment and a special type that produces only female flowers and yields more fruit. The untreated seeds produce female and male flowers, providing a pollen source.Plant the seeds an inch and a half deep, usually between April 1 and May 15, leaving 3 to 4 feet between rows and almost as much between plants, he said. Cucumbers need about 60 days to mature.Garden cucumber varieties come in two main types. If you want to eat them fresh, by themselves or in salads, grow a slicing type.”They have dark green rinds with tender, mild flesh,” Boyhan said. “Pick them when they’re about 6 inches long.” If they get much bigger, the seeds will get too hard to eat.The pickling kindIt’s the other type that people have used in pickling worldwide for hundreds and probably thousands of years. “When you think of pickles,” Boyhan said, “you’re thinking of pickled cucumbers.”This type, he said, will turn lighter green or yellowish as it matures. With a more bitter taste, it’s not as good for eating fresh. But its thin skin and spines help it absorb the vinegar solution used in pickling.As with the slicing type, he said, pick these cucumbers when they’re immature, before the seeds begin to harden. Once you’ve picked them, it’s time to pickle them.What began in ancient times as a fermentation process is now most often a fresh-pack or quick pickling process, says Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Extension food safety specialist and director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Center for Home Food Preservation.”Quick pickling is by far the most popular process,” Andress said. “Fermenting limits you to the dill types. But quick pickling allows many more choices of flavors.”With the vinegar brine of the quick pickling process, sugar and many spices can be added to make cucumbers sour, sweet, hot or mild with an almost endless array of flavors.Be carefulThere’s no shortage of recipes out there, but that makes Andress nervous.”If you don’t have enough acid in the pickles, there’s a danger of botulism,” she said. “Always use a recipe from a reliable source, and never substitute any ingredient that could alter the ratio between the amount of acid and the other ingredients.”Even if you’ve never pickled anything before, making pickles of your cucumbers is still an easy option, Andress said. If you can read a recipe, you can do it.”The easiest thing to learn is the quick-pickling process,” she said. “If you want to store the pickles at room temperature, you’ll have to learn at least boiling-water canning, too. You’ll need some jars and lids, and a canner. But it’s not hard.”A number of recipes and other instructions are on the Web at www.homefoodpreservation.com. Another great resource is the new edition of the UGA Extension book, “So Easy to Preserve” and a separate “So Easy to Preserve” DVD.The books are $18 and the DVDs $39.95, shipping included. You can get order forms for either at www.uga.edu/setp. Or contact the county UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more