RAs Required To Write Social Justice Essays At Ohio State


By Rob Shimshock

Resident advisers at Ohio State University (OSU) must reflect on social justice workshops they attend and a social justice event they host by writing a 1,200-word essay.

The requirement is part of OSU’s three-step Diversity, Intercultural, and Community Engagement (DICE) certificate guidelines.

To complete the first step, resident advisers must complete an “information and diversity training session,” “Social Justice Engagement” program, and “Heritage & Awareness” program.

Step two requires RAs to plan and host an hour-long program for their residents on multiculturalism, social justice, inclusion, and diversity.

“Many topics and interests can have a social justice or diversity lens applied to it,” the guidelines says. “For example, if you are interested in TV and movies, you can look at the representation of certain identities in the media (e.g. people with disabilities, LGBT characters, etc.). If you are interested in food you can cook a meal from a certain culture with your residents and include a discussion of the history of that dish/cuisine and how it has changed over time.”

The document also suggests teaching residents about stereotypes, microaggressions, and cultural appropriation, recommending that RAs think about hosting guests. Apparently, there are “many staff and faculty who hold certain identities or research interests.”

Another document, entitled “Resident Advisor/Community Advisor Expectations,” further details how RAs must advocate for social justice.

“Educate residents about diversity issues through passive (i.e. bulletin board) and active means (i.e. conversations, host a cultural event, attend campus event),” reads the “Inclusion” section.

“Address biased incidents (i.e. racial, ethnic, religious, ability, gender, and/or sexual orientation) promptly. *CONTACT HALL DIRECTOR/HOUSING COORDINATOR IMMEDIATELY TO REPORT INCIDENT.”

RAs must reflect on their experience in the DICE program by writing an essay of at least 1,200 words by April 7, 2017, and consider questions such as “Why is diversity, social justice, and inclusion work relevant to your position?” and “How can you engage students in conversations about diversity in the residence halls?”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to OSU several times to learn whether RAs could fulfill their requirements by attending workshops offered by the school’s Multiculturalism Center such as “What does America owe Black people? The Case for Reparations” and a semester-long course entitled “Crossing Identity Boundaries: A Journey Towards Intercultural Leadership,” but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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