News and Perspectives
Body shaming is a growing epidemic, rising to a fevered pitch in recent years alongside social media. Photos and advertisements of perfectly shaped and airbrushed bodies plaster the cities we live in, setting an unrealistic stigma for perfection. Even social media can play a role as people choose to share the best shots online, utilizing filters and editing apps to touch up their “reality.”
By Na'im Madyun
Although not often enough, I am reminded that being hopeful is a good thing. It allows me to clarify purpose and endure moments of being lost. Two weeks ago, in the wake of the tragic shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas, I found myself unsure of my purpose as a parent and lost at how to best address these events.
I was taking my family on a trip to Toledo, Ohio. On the drive, we saw from a distance a vehicle stopped by the police. Inside the vehicle was an African American male. It felt as though all highway traffic slowed in unison with an uncertain, eerie anticipation. As we drove past, my family began to make jokes that were not all funny.
I immediately felt saddened as it became clear that my kids will grow up and have an overwhelming discomfort with the police. I leaned over to my spouse and said, “We need to go to a police station.” And we did; the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Department, where I asked the officers on duty if they could take the time to speak with my children and answer their questions.
Na'im Madyun is the Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Diversity, and Outreach, College of Education and Human Development
Effective mentoring is one of the most critical components of a successful academic career. The University of Minnesota Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research has organized a mentoring program, Health Equity Leadership & Mentoring (HELM), that is designed to enhance the academic excellence and leadership capacity of diverse faculty and health disparities researchers at the University of Minnesota and ultimately reduce health inequities.
By Deane Morrison
Every summer, some of the U’s best and brightest entering graduate students gather on campus for seven weeks to get their feet wet in the world they will inhabit full time come fall.
These future scholars, teachers, and leaders have made the U’s Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Summer Institute (SI) program a resounding success since its inception in fall 1998. This year’s crop of 29 graduate students are building networks of support across the U through work with a faculty mentor, developing a research topic, and attending weekly seminars on communicating with faculty and proposal writing. Along with such essentials as getting acclimated to the Twin cities and their department culture and learning where to find all kinds of resources.
Creating a positive campus experience for all university students, faculty and staff is a primary goal for University Services. One initiative supporting this effort has University Services in the process of continuing to advance the number of gender neutral restrooms on the Twin Cities campus. The campus has a total of more than 1900 restrooms. Nearly 450 of the restrooms are single occupant facilities. As of the beginning of July, 2016, more than 250 of those are gender neutral. Under the direction of University leadership, the remainder of all single occupant restrooms will be re-designated as gender neutral, resulting in nearly 25% of all restrooms able to accommodate all of our constituents. Changes to signage of those facilities, and way finding signage near main building entrances should be complete by the beginning of fall semester.
Additionally, a new layer is live on the university’s GIS enabled interactive map which will assist in locating gender neutral facilities. This capability will continue to update as more restrooms are designated gender neutral. To view gender neutral restrooms on the Twin Cities Campus Interactive Map, click on the "see more places and things" icon on the top leftof the map (underneath the word Twin Cities). Then, check on the box for gender neutral restrooms.
Current progress is the culmination of the long advocacy of the University's Transgender Commission and The Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life (formerly GLBTA Program's Office), as well resolutions last year from the U Senate and the Council of Graduate Students.