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VP of DEMA to visit Gary, Ind.


By Matt Bloom




James Wimbush, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, will represent IU in the 16th annual Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Symposium this Friday.

Taking place at IU Northwest in Gary, Ind., the symposium will facilitate discussions surrounding the critical importance of education, health care and jobs for all.

“More attention will be paid to black cultural issues in Indiana,” Wimbush said. “But they will also be speaking about underrepresented individuals in general.”

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus members and local high school students will be in attendance.

“The goal is really just to share what we are doing at IU regarding diversity and higher education,” he said. “We aren’t appealing for any legislative action.”

Wimbush said he plans to present DEMA’s ongoing efforts to foster diversity on campus.

“It is very important to have an inclusive environment that allows for the diversity of people as well as the diversity of thought,” he said. “We want an environment where people feel appreciated and accepted so they can do their best work.”

Jeff Linder, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, helped organize the symposium’s panels. 

“The sessions on diversity issues and what our campus should look like also serve to recruit minority students,” Linder said. “We want these students to stay in Indiana instead of choosing an out-of-state option.”

The symposium will also include a scholarship fundraiser for minority students.
“We want to highlight that the community and the University are working together,” Linder said.

Wimbush said he will raise his main concern of student retention and graduation rates at the symposium.

“We know that we have some school systems that do a poorer job than others in terms of graduation rates, particularly for black males,” he said. “Gary was one of those.”

Director of Diversity Education at IU Eric Love said diversity of faculty and staff make a huge difference in the comfort level of students.

“It helps us to realize we can benefit from the diversity we already have here,” Love said.

Wimbush said cultural centers at IU are invaluable resources for all students.
“Facilitating diversity is a priority the University has always committed to and there is no difference in that as we move forward,” he said.

Follow reporter Matt Bloom on Twitter
@matthew_bloom.

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