LIFE UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION TO HOST “WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” SYMPOSIUM SERIES
Marietta, Georgia, October 21, 2020 – The Life University (LIFE) Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) will hold the second part of its “With Liberty and Justice For All” virtual symposium series on Tuesday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and available for watching on Zoom.
The symposiums, which will be held every month for the next year, are focused on “exploring the evolution of the meaning of citizens’ (and human) rights and responsibilities from the founding of the United States of America to the present.”
The theme of Tuesday evening’s conversation is “The Erosion of Native Rights.” The panel will include members of the LIFE community who are descended from the native peoples of the Americas, with speakers John Thornhill, Paul Stover and Lola Rodriguez Vargas. A group discussion will be a key part of the night, according to ODEI Interim Executive Director Dr. Karoline Oliveira.
Dr. Oliveira said the symposiums were included in LIFE’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which was debuted in June. The plan resulted from Dr. Oliveira’s extensive work over the prior year, which included interviews with Life University students, faculty and staff, taking stock of LIFE’s campus climate and making recommendations for improvements.
The goal of the series is to have “regular and ongoing conversations that will continually talk about how we can grow as a community and how we can explore and celebrate what is unique about us as a community and as individuals,” Dr. Oliveira explained. “ODEI wanted to make sure we are talking to each other and learning from one another more intentionally and more regularly. These symposiums were put together so that we had the opportunity to bring folks who may not share a common background but can learn from one another.
“That’s how we grow,” she added. “That’s how we dismantle stereotypes and biases – from learning from one another, spending time with one another.”
Founded in in 1974, Life University is a health sciences institution most known for its Doctor of Chiropractic program, the largest single-campus chiropractic program in the world. Undergraduates can pursue 15 undergraduate degrees as well as a pre-chiropractic, degree-seeking pathway. Three graduate degrees are available, encompassing areas of sport health science, clinical nutrition and positive psychology. Some degree programs are offered to distance learners through the College of Online Education.
LIFE’s 110-acre campus in Marietta, Georgia, just northwest of Atlanta, is home to more than 2,700 undergraduate, graduate and professional students who come from all 50 United States and more than 45 countries.
The feedback Dr. Oliveira received during her data collection efforts in 2019 and 2020 included a desire by members of the LIFE community for diversity, equity and inclusion forums on campus.
“Folks wanted to have these conversations not only when an incident happens in society or the nation, or sometimes locally,” she explained. “It’s not to be reactive – it’s about being very intentional about learning from one another, engaging with one another and being open. When the University is reacting to something, there’s a heightened sense of emotion, and people aren’t always listening to each other. We’re less inclined to listen and hear. Instead, we want to make that part of the fabric of what we do here at LIFE.”
The next symposium on December 1 at 5:30 p.m. will focus on religious freedom. During a month when people from many faiths celebrate, the event “will explore the proper role of religion in a nation that acknowledged a Creator and rejected the establishment of a state/national religion, as well provide an inclusive look at multiple cultures’ winter holidays and their origins and traditions.”
Dr. Oliveira added that she hopes people will explore the topics that will be discussed each month in advance and not only attend, but also to contact the office by email at ODEI@LIFE.edu if they are interested in being a speaker. Dr. Oliveira also acknowledged and praised the involvement of Rebecca Koch, LIFE’s Director of Service Initiatives, whose assistance in planning the symposium series and suggesting potential panelists has been instrumental in their successful launch.
For more information about LIFE’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit LIFE.edu/About-Pages/Office-of-Diversity-Equity-Inclusion. A video about ODEI can be viewed on Life University’s YouTube channel.
To learn more about Life University, visit LIFE.edu.