UW-Green Bay plans panel discussion on race, colleges, communities

A panel discussion on “Being a Minority in a Predominantly White Community while Attending a Predominantly White Institution” is scheduled to take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday (Dec. 7) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Hosted by the University’s American Intercultural Center, the event will take place in the Phoenix Room of the University Union on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive. The event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include student Christian Parker, the Diversity and Inclusion Chair for UW-Green Bay’s Student Government Association; Adrianne Fletcher, assistant professor of Social Work at UW-Green Bay; Robyn Davis, an attorney and president of the Freedom House homeless and service center of Green Bay; Interim Chief Jim Lewis of the Green Bay Police Department; and student Carrington Love, a member of the Phoenix men’s basketball team.

The moderator will be Justin Mallett, director of diversity for UW-Green Bay. Mallett, a native of Kosciusko, Miss., who holds a doctorate in educational leadership, joined the staff in July 2014. This past April, in the wake of highly publicized police shootings involving African Americans in Ferguson, Mo., and Madison, Wis., Mallett and the AIC hosted a well-attended forum on police and community relations. Law enforcement, community and political leaders shared their insight.

“In view of the more recent events that have been taking place at the University of Missouri, at Yale and other campuses around the country, we want to continue the dialogue about race relations in Green Bay,” Mallett says. “This is about having a conversation where we can all work together, and it is also a way to show our minority students there are professionals on campus and in the community who care about their concerns.”

It is expected the Dec. 7 discussion will focus primarily on African-American experiences in Green Bay — in keeping with the nature of the national incidents over the past year — but Mallett says the topic of discussion will not be limited to any particular culture, group or race. He also invites audience participation from both on and off campus.

UW-Green Bay has posted steady diversity gains in recent years. Underrepresented minorities now make up about 11 percent of total fall 2015 enrollment (714 of 6,779 individuals), and another 2 percent (113 students) are from other minority backgrounds. Although those numbers position UW-Green Bay among the UW System leaders in terms of percentage of diverse enrollment, University officials say there is much room for growth.

Anyone with questions about the event may contact Mallett at MallettJ@uwgb.edu or (920) 465-2720.