Department holds multiculturalism seminar

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration held its annual public policy symposium. The program was held on Tuesday and Wednesday. Dr. Sarah Dennis, associate director and coordinator of the master’s in public administration (MPA) program, has facilitated the symposium since the early ’90s.”The department hosts this program to give students experience presenting and to make them aware of the policies being implemented or changed as well as the impact the policies have on society,” Dr. Dennis said.

Students presented topics related to public policy development on Tuesday. The presentations were The Louisiana Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys: The Plight of the African American Male, Jared Evans; Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Ahmet Silivrili; and The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Christopher Hughes.

Some of Dennis’ State and Local Government students presented the topic Charter Schools in New Orleans: Pre- and Post-Katrina. The panel included Angelica Adams, Rudolph Ellis, Tracy Francis and Theophila Fredrick.

Another group consisting of Kais Dwairi, Kalen Echols, Kednra Johnson, Shannon Mangham and Stacie Thomas, presented the topic A Look at New Orleans Public Housing Before and After Hurricane Katrina.

Malaina Davis, Kwanna Redwine and Carla Hudson presented the topic Crime in New Orleans.

The students traveled to New Orleans and met with politicians and government officials to gather information for their topics.

Topic on Multiculturalism in America was presented on Wednesday. The panel included Savannah Dwairi, Theophila Fredrick, Juliette Gonzague, Mark Hines, Therese Hunter, Phillip James, Yusaf Ocal, Angelica Sanders, Sagar Shrestha, MaRhonda Smith. Dr. Roshunda Belton, head of the History Department and Dr. Yawsoon Sim, a Political Science Department professor.

The topic was introduced by the Student Government Association junior class president, Christopher Hughes, and senior class president Jared Evans served as the moderator.

The panel discussed the problems that international students face when they come to America and Grambling State University. A lack of transportation, the cuisine, adapting to a new culture, financial problems and unmet needs were a few of the issues discussed.

The panel talked about multiculturalism in America and at GSU. Many felt that America has not truly embraced the idea of multiculturalism, while a few believed progress is being made to make America accepting of multiculturalism.

The panel included two students who have lived on United States military bases. Mark Hines talked about growing up in Germany, and Angelica Sanders shared her experiences growing up in Japan.

Dwairi revealed the racism she faced when her family moved to America. One of her junior high school teachers encouraged her to change her name to “Savannah” because the teacher didn’t want to learn to pronounce Dwairi’s name.

The audience also had a chance to pose questions and share comments with the panel. Former GSU Athletic Director, Al Dennis, advised the students to get to know each other and work together to reach their goals.

Byron Banks, a SGA member, encouraged the international students to get involved with the SGA’s International Affairs Committee.

Panel member Smith, also a SGA member, told international students they are facing some of the same problems as American students. She and Hunter said the adjustment that international students had to face living in rural Grambling was the same as they faced coming from South Carolina and California.