With the 2000s came a new era of navigating online spaces that allowed creative use and new connections. In tandem with this online sphere came a unique opportunity for privacy, and sometime in the decade, the BSU and CME developed their website. This gave them a safe space to organize events and helped forge connections with other organizations.
Alongside this newfound agency came an increasing push to create multicultural spaces. Historically black fraternities, sororities, and groups at UNI left campus. In contrast, others made themselves a place for more minority groups like AAPI students, Indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students, Latinx students, International students, and others. Afro-Brazilian Capoeira demonstrations, a Native American Performance Troop, The Hispanic Latino Ball, an Asian American Comedy Troop “Stir Friday Night,” and LGBTA panels were given space at UNI to showcase. Every year for Black History Month, the BSU sponsored events to tackle topics relevant to their members and other students in the new decade.
BSU and CME remained proactive responders to an ever-changing political and social climate in the 00s. They acknowledge highs such as the election of the United State’s first Black President Barack Obama and lows like the xenophobia and racism that accompanied anti-terrorism rhetoric surrounding 9/11 responses. Events and workshops sponsored by the BSU and CME helped students navigate the new millennium with panels and topical short films such as “Are We Different” and a panel discussion on “Events in Black America.”
Speakers such as Ronald Dellums, Tony Brown, Rodney Salinas, and Dr. Herman Blake offered advice to minority students on campus and lectures on their successes and hurdles. Discussions on white privilege and ignorance on campus were published in UNI’s newspaper as the BSU and CME hosted communication about the racist and antisemitic incidents. The importance of community was just as prevalent as before, but in the 2000s, it gave a new opportunity for inclusion of other marginalized groups including the Latino American and Asian American communities.
While issues may have arisen regarding the new digital era and how online presence should be tackled, the BSU and CME remained steadfast in their mission of hosting events that challenge students to think about their community culturally and on campus. As UNI set new precedents of multicultural representation, these organizations piloted creative ways to facilitate productive discussion. The 2000s would be challenging with outside rhetoric influenced by ignorance and prejudice, but UNI’s multicultural organizations used this to promote community communication.
A panel discussion on the book “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks” by Randall Robinson.
Discussion Panel about Reparations1 On the 8th of February was a discussion panel on the book “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks” by Randall Robinson. Panelists included professors of Philosophy and Religion, Educational Leadership, and directors of the Recycling and Reuse Technology Transfer Center and Multicultural Education. The panel discussed “what America owes to racial and ethnic minorities”, “how would reparations be justly distributed”, and “would repayment of any kind be simply too divisive.”
Dr. Julian Manly Earls came to UNI to give a talk entitled, “If You Think You Can or Think You Can’t”
Dr. Julian Manly Earls was born November 22, 1942, in Portsmouth, Virginia and earned his B.S. in physics from Norfolk State University. He then earned his M.S. degree in radiation biology, worked at NASA for six years, and was sponsored by them to earn his PhD in radiation physics. He worked at NASA for over forty years becoming NASA’s first black section head, first black office chief, first black division chief, first black deputy director, and NASA’s second black center director. His speech was sponsored by the CME.2 (picture courtesy of https://www.thehistorymakers.org/
2000s Diversity Week
In GBPAC, Robert Mirabal and his Native American Performance Troupe performed, and a speech by Rose Vasquez (Director of Iowa Department of Human Rights) about the responsibility to diversity in the Union Expansion Room B (“changing faces in iowa: recognizing our responsibility to diversity”).3 On the 16th, Asian comedy troupe from Chicago called “Stir Friday Night” performing in the Maucker Expansion and the Kappa Alpha Psi dance.4
(picture courtesy of Voices Newsletter by the CME, Spring 2000)
Former Congressman Ronals Dellums came to UNI
In 2001, the spring semester began with former Congressman from Oakland, CA, Ronald Dellums, speaking at GBPAC for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Week Activities sponsored by the CME, Ethnic Student Center, Alpha Phi, and MGSA. He also discussed his book “Lying Down with the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power” followed by a book signing.5
(picture courtesy of Voices Newsletter by the CME, Spring 2000)
Tony Brown gave a speech entitled “Empower the People” a day after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center
The speech was based off of his book “Empower the People: Overthrow The Conspiracy That Is Stealing Your Money And Freedom” originally published 3 years earlier.6
On the First Anniversary of 9/11…
The CME dedicated Diversity Week to a new perspective on embracing other cultures, including a workshop entitled “Teaching Through Crisis: How Instructors and Students Addressed 9/11 in the classroom”.7
Black History Panel Discussion
On the 20th, a panel discussion on “Events in Black America” was held in Maucker Union Hemisphere Lounge for Black History Month. Hosted by Tehia Straker, the panel hoped to build awareness and let the non-minority student be aware of the past to not let history repeat itself.8
(picture courtesy of https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/62000)
Presentation of “Got Ignorance?” in the Union
The presentation was an attempt to address issues of discrimination, whether racial, sexual, or otherwise. Diversity Week’s diversity film series began with “A Light in the Shadows” and a discussion panel following the film to increase awareness of the difficulties women face being ethnic minorities and female.9
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn gave a speech entitled, “History, Myth and Identity in the New Indian Story”10
Cook-Lynn is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and has been outspoken Indigenous politics and sovereignty through her novels and poetry. Her speech talked about agency over Indigenous history.11
On the 15th of September, the Northern Iowan ran a promotional article about the African Union at UNI encouraging people to join to learn more about Africa.
The AU’s goal was to share African culture with the people at UNI as well as help students understand what Africa is really about, learn about the difference and similarities between African countries and others, and eliminate misconceptions about Africa.12
(picture courtesy of https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/67927)
CME First Book Club
In the fall of 2007, the CME started their first book club.13 The CME created the book club to facilitate opportunity for students to read and discuss current and relevant books related to social justice, multiculturalism and race relations. The first meeting was on October 1, 2007.
Dr. Herman Blake Keynote Address “Diversity at UNI: Opportunity and Challenge”
Town Hall Meeting: Scholars for Educational Excellence & Diversity Q&A w/ Dr. Herman Blake and Dr. Herman Blake – “Diversity at UNI: Opportunity and Challenge” – keynote speaker then the Vice President of Scholars for Educational Excellence and Diversity Inc., Dr. J Herman Blake was invited by the CME to talk on UNI and it’s progress and challenges regarding diversity initiative.14
5-day Orientation Program
The Northern Iowan introduced students to the 5-day orientation program, “Jump Start”, for students with differing ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds along with an extra two-hour Strategies of Success Class. This program was led by Juanita Wright.15
During the 2008 Diversity Week…
“Insight to Diversity Problems”, a student panel of ethnic and minority groups was held and keynote speaker Norma T. Hollis gave her speech “Authenticity in Politics and Life.”16
The third-annual Multicultural Teachers Reception
The third-annual Multicultural Teachers Reception was held in the Georgian Lounge with the purpose of learning “about diversity and promoting awareness of diversity in the classroom”17
Welcome Back BBQ hosted by Delta Sigma
Delta Sigma Theta hosted the first Stroll-Off Event, which presented different groups and individuals showcasing choreographed dance moves and promoted community collaboration.18
Swastika Painting upsets UNI Community.
A Swastika painting found on a bench outside Rialto Dining Center with the tagline “F– the Jews.” startled students and faculty. A public forum was held in response and revealed other acts of discrimination on campus and students feeling unsafe with these actions, thus opening up an important discussion on the safety of marginalized people.19
1 “Spring 2000 Voices Newsletter CME,” in the Center for Multicultural Education Collection Brochures & Announcements, c. 1970-2019 Box 1 Folder: Voices Spring 2000-, 04/06/01, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.
2July 14, 2000 Dr. Julian Manly Earls,” in the Center for Multicultural Education Collection Brochures & Announcements, c. 1970-2019 Box 1 Folder: Ethnic Minorities Cultural and Educational Center, 1994-, 04/06/01, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.
3Swearingen. “Diversity Week: Always looking for Something Different and New.” Northern Iowan. September 8, 2000. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/45084
5Former Congressman to speak at UNI.” Public Relations News Release. January 15, 2001. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/123679
6CME Shared Archive – 1995-2016 Academic Years – 2000-2001 Academic Year – video footage
7Andersen, Kelli. “Diversity Week ‘Promotes Awareness’; This Year’s Focus on Education through 9/11 Remembrance.” Northern Iowan. September 6, 2002. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/60364 https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/60364
8Blome, Jessica. “MSGA” Hosts Array of Events for Black History Month.” Northern Iowan. February 18, 2003. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/62000
9Molitor, Neal Andrew. “Diversity Week Offers New Perspectives.” Northern Iowan. September 10, 2004, 101 edition, sec. 4. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/64950
10CME Shared Archive – 1995-2016 Academic Years – 2004-2005 Academic Years
11“Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Papers.” South Dakota State University. Accessed December 5, 2021. https://www.sdstate.edu/sdsu-archives-and-special-collections/elizabeth-cook-lynn-papers.
12Gathua, Grace M. “Learn More about African Culture, Join the African Union.” Northern Iowa. September 15, 2006, 103 edition, sec. 6. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/67927
13 “Diversity Week 2007.” Northern Iowan. September 7, 2007, 104 edition, sec. 4. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/259644
14 “Diversity Week 2007.” Northern Iowan. September 7, 2007, 104 edition, sec. 4. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/259644
15 Miller, Zanetta Liza. “A Jump Start for Education.” Northern Iowan. February 5, 2008, 104 editions, sec. 32. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/69645
16CME Shared Archive – 1995-2016 Academic Years – 2008-2009 Academic Years – CME 2008-2009
17Adams, Gloria Jean, and Derk Babbitt. “UNI Multicultural Teaching Alliance to Host Teacher Reception.” Public Relations News Release. November 13, 2008, 2008 edition, sec. 220. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/278151
18Jackson, Ebony. “UNI’s Delta SigEbonyma Theta Chapter to Host First Stroll-Off Event.” Public Relations News Release. May 1, 2009, 2008 edition, sec. 510. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/285847
19Davidson, Nicole Jean. “Swastika Painting Upsets UNI Community.” Northern Iowan. November 17, 2009. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/71409. https://indexuni.library.uni.edu/articles/71409