Failing to promote diversity

By Amanda Tonoli


A Youngstown State University professor said he doesn’t feel deserving of an award he’ll receive tonight.

The annual Diversity Leadership Recognition Dinner honors faculty, staff and administrators who are leaders in diversity and inclusion.

Michael Jerryson, YSU philosophy and religious studies associate professor and Campus Leadership Award winner, said his selection for the award comes after his role in getting a women’s center started on campus.

Since the administration’s pledge in August to provide an assistant director and a space to locate the women’s center, neither has happened.

“I’m proud of the work people are trying to do and I’m proud of the people on board trying to make due with very little resources they have, but I just wish administration, instead of promoting this Diversity Leadership dinner, would’ve put more money actually into diversity,” he said. “If my award is based upon the women’s center, I’m getting an award on something not being funded. ... This is another example of failed shared governance.”

Provost Martin Abraham said he applauds Jerryson’s passion and encourages him to continue advocating for the women’s center.

“The development of the women’s center back last summer was definitely a step forward, but it’s just a step,” Abraham said.

“We absolutely need to do more. We want to do more. We also have limited resources not just financial, but also personnel, time and capacity, and we’re trying to do the very best we can on behalf of all of our diverse populations.”

Abraham added that the university will continue to move forward with the creation of a campus women’s center, but unfortunately it will probably not align with Jerryson’s ideal timeline.

“Diversity is important to the university – diversity in all ways: gender, ethnic, religious, age and more,” he said.

“They’re all important to us, and we try to recognize everybody’s efforts and activities the best we can.”

Other award winners for tonight’s 5:30 p.m. event at Stambaugh Auditorium are Sherri Harper Woods, YSU social work assistant professor; graduate student Catherine Cooper; and Brian Corbin, Member Services Catholic Charities executive vice president.

In addition, the following YSU students have been selected to receive Diversity Leadership Scholarships: sophomore Riley Chiu and juniors Araceli Perez and Hadeal Yusuf.

YSU student Natalie Nguyen of Hanoi, Vietnam, will be the special guest at the dinner.

The recipient of the Diversity Leadership Achievement Award, recognizing a college, program, organization, business or group that has made significant measurable achievements in diversity and inclusion, will be announced at the event.

Tickets for the event are on sale at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave. Tickets are also available at or 330-259-0555.

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