University News

"Difficult Conversations" Continues: Feb. 16 Session to Cover Biased Remarks

February 2, 2012

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MACOMB, IL -- Later this month, a session in the "Difficult Conversations" series of informal discussions at Western Illinois University will provide the campus community with a third opportunity to talk about the issues that come up when people unfamiliar with each other's backgrounds, values or experiences are asked to work and live side by side. The "Difficult Conversations" series is being held at Western Illinois University this academic year (2011-12) to foster conversations about cultural diversity as it is experienced on the WIU campus. Previous sessions (held Sept. 28 and Nov. 9 in 2011) covered University policies and intercultural cooperation, as well as the nature of prejudice.

The third topic of the "Difficult Conversations" series will cover, "Challenging and Salvaging Situations in the Face of Biased Remarks," and is slated for 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 in the University Union Lamoine Room.

According to the series organizers, this informal discussion session will give participants a chance to explore what they can do when they hear a sexist joke, a racial slur or a homophobic put-down. Short dramatic sketches that illustrate the types of situations people routinely encounter will set the stage for the small-group discussions, which will focus on ways participants may respond to what they see and hear.

A fourth installment of the "Difficult Conversations" series at WIU is scheduled for late March. The topic to covered in that session is: "Take a Risk: It's Really OK to Ask Me About __________?" Wednesday, March 28 in the University Union Lamoine Room.

The series is co-sponsored by the Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, the University Diversity Council and the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100.

For more information, contact Deb Miretzky, assistant professor of educational and interdisciplinary studies and coordinator of the Difficult Conversations series, at (309) 298-1528 or via email at

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