ISCORE to focus on issues of race

Tim Paluch

The Memorial Union will be home to the second annual Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity today, which coordinators said is intended to educate the public on diversity issues.Rafael Rodriguez, ISCORE co-chair, said he hopes the conference will help make the ISU campus more open to issues.”We hope to provide a place for discussions of race and ethnicity,” said Rodriguez, director of Minority Student Affairs. “The conference allows for a safe environment of open discussion, educational access and inclusiveness.”Registration for the conference begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Main Desk Lounge at the Memorial Union. Interim President Richard Seagrave will kick off the day with a welcome speech at 8:30 a.m. in the Sun Room of the Union.Mahmoud El-Kati, Macalester College history professor; Anthony Vigil, famous poet; and cultural expert O.C. Bobby Daniels will also be among the speakers and presenters at the conference.David Bousquet, assistant vice president for Admissions and conference co-chair, said ISCORE is modeled after the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. NCORE will be held in Seattle this year, from May 30 through June 3.”It seeks to bring ideas and concepts from the national arena as well as putting a local perspective on issues,” he said.Rodriguez, who has taken groups of ISU students to the last two national conferences, said students will be presenting what they’ve learned during the conferences at this year’s ISCORE.In addition to student presentations, ISU faculty, staff and people from outside the university will also present at the conference, he said.Events will end with two spoken word performances from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Union, one by Vigil and the other by the Asian artist group, “I Was Born With 2 Tongues.”After the performances, there will also be a dance party from 9:30 p.m. until midnight in the Great Hall of the Union.Bousquet said ISCORE is a good model for other universities.”I think every campus could benefit from such an event,” he said. “I’m hopeful that people will approach others who are not like them in a more thoughtful manner and be more mindful of the differences between people.”