For Immediate Release – April 1, 2004

Contact:

Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

mccrank@geneseo.edu

SUNY GENESEO TO RALLY AND CELEBRATE DIVERSITY, KICK OFF WEEKLONG SERIES OF EVENTS

GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo students, faculty and staff will kick off a week full of activities celebrating diversity with a rally on Monday, April 5 in the Robert W. MacVittie College Union Ballroom.

The Stand UP Geneseo rally is the start of a series of weeklong events entitled "1 College, 1 Community, 1 World" focused toward promoting the diversity on campus.

Students began organizing the events after someone placed hate graffiti on the campus in January. Swastikas — a symbol of racial and religious oppression — were found in a residence hall, dining hall and on the College Green.

Immediately following the incidents, the Student Association and Inter-Residence Council passed resolutions affirming the values of community and respect for people’s differences. And students held a forum with faculty and staff to stimulate discussion about racism and hatred.

But the students wanted to do more. So, the Student Association is organizing the Stand UP (Unity and Peace) Geneseo rally, while members of the Wayne Hall Council and the Inter-Residence Council are organizing the weeklong "1 College, 1 Community, 1 World" events.

The collaboration will result in more than 20 events being held on campus next week on a variety of diverse topics, including plays and films with Korean, Mexican and gay themes, a lecture about stereotypes, a variety of art projects, a dance workshop, and a social event offering teas from around the world.

The Stand UP rally will include a reading of a poem titled An Ally’s Promise, written by Anthony J. D’Angelo and published in the Inspiration for LGBT Students and Their Allies; a performance of a song; discussion of the standard principles for college communities, by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and a reading of SUNY Geneseo’s statement on community and diversity, which was approved last fall by the College Senate.

Kelly Clark, director of multicultural affairs for the college, said the goal of the event is to promote the college’s philosophy that everyone is part of one community.

"We wanted it to be more about community building and drive home the point that when one member of the community is affected by something, it’s an outrage to all members of the community," says Clark.

Evelyn Rodriguez, 21, a senior sociology major from Bronx, N.Y., and director of student affairs for the Student Association, helped organize the Stand UP rally.

"When I came to Geneseo, it was a huge culture shock," says Rodriguez. So, she immediately became involved in student organizations to help foster diversity on campus.

Rodriguez said the student organizations worked together to create a bigger diversity week so the events would have a bigger impact on the community.

"It brings the message home more," she says. That message, she says, is that the community is stronger than the hate graffiti incident. "We are not defeated," she says.

"This is something that if one of us feels uncomfortable, if one of us feels hurt, we should all feel it because Geneseo prides itself as being a community," says Rodriguez. "It also shows that we will stand up for one another and we do take pride in our community and where we come from."

Stand UP organizers expect students, faculty and staff to wear SUNY Geneseo clothing, or "Geneseo blue," to the rally. Student organizers will gather at 2:15 p.m. and will be available to talk with the media before and after the event. The rally is expected to go from 2:30 to 3:20 p.m.

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