Tribal leaders, national policymakers and educators came together last week at Sheridan College to talk about how to decrease racial tensions on their campus. Back in September, racial slurs were written on a whiteboard on the dorm door of two Native American students there, prompting a series of discussions about how to prevent future attacks.
Northern Arapaho Chairman Roy Brown participated in the roundtable and said he commends the college for taking action.
“It really showed the commitment to making sure that all their students feel safe and making sure that the culture on Sheridan College is one of inclusivity and that bias against race or other protected classes is not going to be tolerated,” said Brown.
He added he was glad to see the college take the event last fall seriously.
“We know it’s very common on college campuses for American Indian students to face these type of micro-aggressions,” said Brown. “The first step that we addressed last night at the roundtable was about making sure that no one is trying to ignore it or discredit it.”
Brown said panelists discussed ideas like opening a Native American Center on campus where tribal students can gather, adopting more protective policies and hiring more Native American faculty and staff.
“Currently, there are no faculty that are Native American and so that’s something that President Young has acknowledged that Sheridan College can improve on and will take steps to try and diversify their faculty and staff.”
Brown said, right now, only a few Northern Arapaho students attend Sheridan College, but if more effort was made to welcome them, that could change.