Regaining a “Sense of Humanity” at Providence College - Marzullo and Haig
Two powerful forces are at play in any social structure, like Providence College (PC), where discrimination has been attributed to the social interactions of one group to the detriment of another. Maintaining this social environment creates the "oppressed" and the “oppressor's" mystique, where the dominant social relations over the years has produced a “Culture of Silence” that by its nature, attempts to instill a negative, silenced, and suppressed self-image into those that feel oppressed, the Black and Brown students and staff, generation after generation. Secondly, once you have created this “Culture of Silence” it causes the dominated individuals to lose the means by which to critically respond to the culture that is forced on them by a dominant culture so, “they don’t see what they should have been able to see. The mystique of this “Culture of Silence” is that it strips away the "oppressed" and "oppressor’s" natural inclination to be humane. We believe that both the “oppressor” and the “oppressed” must be liberated from this mystique by regaining their “sense of humanity” through a process called “consciousness development education. Bringing key stakeholders together like the PC President, staff, students, Board of Trustee members, and alumni via a KIVA is one way to facilitate this process.
As a human technology the KIVA is used for targeting this mystique. Secondly, the community of participants will identify where and what parts of the institution needs to be humanized or should we say, re-humanized. Thirdly, following up, we will analyze the data we collected, report the analysis to the KIVA participants and then recommend a “system of innovations” with the Administration, which must match the magnitude of change required - one with checks and balances that humanizes the effected parts and proposes a system of collecting data continuously, where the data informs future decision-making. By the way, critical to the integrity of the process is that the data collected, analyzed, and the recommendations reported must be first reviewed, as sequenced, and reported to the KIVA participants and PC’s constituency. A second session with another cohort of participants may be necessary in response to a need to broaden the sample and collect more data. Lastly, we realize “institutions,” in part or as a whole, and individuals fear change…whether it be in attitudes, behaviors, or norms.
The KIVA will allow us to get the most out of the participants in an abbreviated period of time. Target the conflict in the values of the participants; Identifies adaptive leadership strategies; Diminishes the gaps between those values and the realities they face; and Minimizes the re-occurrences of those conflicts in the future. With that in mind, the data collected and analyzed would lead to analyzing existing regulations, policies, practices, activities, and behaviors that are perceived as favoring any majority over a minority at the college and revising them through the ‘lens’ of a compassionate, sympathetic person that exhibits generous behavior or disposition towards another human being, on campus. And then creating new regulations, policies and/or practices, activities or behaviors that are humanizing and allow both the oppressed and the oppressor to begin the process of healing and feeling liberated. Theodore Josiha Haig, PC ’70 – a former superintendent of schools in both Hartford, Ct. Vincent Marzullo, PC ’70 - for 31 years he served as a federal civil rights and social justice Director in RI for the Corporation for National & Community Service.
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