A student government committee finalized plans for an upcoming ethnic studies roundtable and announced the music group that will perform at the event next week. 

In a meeting Monday, the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee completed plans for an ethnic studies dinner to weigh possible changes to the University of Wisconsin’s ethnic studies requirement.

Diversity Committee Chair Mia Akers said the event will be held in Union South on Monday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.

Akers said the event will begin with a historical context regarding the background information for the ethnic studies requirement, followed by a performance by First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning community member Dominique Ricks.

After the performance by Ricks, Diversity Committee members will lead dinner and a small round table discussion with the students in attendance, Akers said.

She added the small group discussion is meant to give students the opportunity to answer questions about the ethnic studies requirement and what they feel could be done to improve ethnic studies on campus.

Vice Chair of the Diversity Committee Hannah Kinsella said in roundtable discussions all forms of feedback are welcome and facilitators and committee members should be prepared not only to hear feedback to improve the ethnic studies requirement but also feedback from people who feel the requirement is perfectly fine the way it is or not necessary at all.

“In any workspace that you will be in, it will be important to be culturally competent and aware of history and issues of diversity, so having this is important to being successful in life, if not already here on campus,” Kinsella said.

During the roundtable discussion, students will be asked to answer two questions: “What has been your personal experience in the ethnic studies courses you have taken or are currently enrolled in”? and “The University is drafting a new Campus Diversity Plan. How do you think the ethnic studies requirement could be released or improved”? according to Diversity Committee Secretary Madison Tully.

Akers said once dinner and the roundtable discussions have concluded, students will have the opportunity to speak in front of the entire audience in the Open Mic/Open Forum to say what they discussed in small groups and any additional information or input they would like to share.

Members of the Diversity Committee will document the responses from these questions and send them to the University Planning Committee for Ethnic Studies. The Committee will use them as input for the new review and possible changes to the ethnic studies requirement, Akers said.

Akers said she hopes students will be very open in their responses to the questions and will be able to recreate the requirement, so it may be more interactive and accessible to students.

“For the first time, this is asking students how their education should be shaped,” Akers said. “It’s asking students to look at their education and how they want to shape it for the betterment of themselves and future students.”

During the next few days, the Diversity Committee will distribute flyers throughout campus lecture halls and educational buildings to promote the event.

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