MSU employees ‘expected’ to pay $75 for ‘multicultural self-awareness’ workshop

Michigan State University is hosting a "multicultural self-awareness" workshop Tuesday and Wednesday.

Not only are employees "expected" to attend it, but they also must fork up $75 to enroll.

One professor told Campus Reform he found the workshop "helpful."

A Michigan State University college is holding a two-day “multicultural self-awareness” event Tuesday and Wednesday for all employees at a cost of $75. 

MSU Extension, a branch of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will run its “Multicultural Self-Awareness Workshop,” exploring “feelings and values from a multicultural perspective.” Non-MSU Extension employees can attend if they pay $150, with MSU noting that attendance is “expected” from MSU Extension employees at $75 admission. 

MSU Extension is designed to bring knowledge from MSU directly to “individuals, communities, and businesses.” Its programming focuses on agriculture, business, food and health, and other subjects.

The program will focus on “differences rather than similarities” and participants are urged to refrain from “phone calls, meetings, and other interruptions” during the workshop.

[RELATED: Students may need counseling after ‘required’ diversity training]

Organizers are structuring the learning experience to address awareness of “prejudice, discrimination, and oppression,” which includes racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and heterosexism.

MSU held a similar program addressing racism in May. It was titled “Raising White Kids: An Anti-Racism Conversation for All of Us,” and included discussion on “white silence.”

Another aim of the program is to stifle individuals’ alleged tendency to see “differences within a monocultural view of ‘better than/less than’ thinking.”

The final point of the program is to give the employees “opportunities to apply what they’re learning to work-related scenarios and explore alternative, more helpful behaviors.”

“Note that participation in such programs doesn’t mean that one adopts all the viewpoints expressed,” professor Daniel Hayes told Campus Reform. Hayes teaches in the CANR’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, which has MSU Extension programs.

The professor said that he had attended a similar program before and “found it helpful to be very helpful in understanding perspectives coming from the diversity of people that make up the MSU community.”

[RELATED: MSU employees forced to pay for mandatory diversity workshop]

”There is a small registration fee to help cover expenses but the program is largely subsidized by MSU Extension. Further, MSU Extension provides all employees with an operating account, and that is what is used to pay the registration fee for this workshop,” MSU Sean Corp previously told Campus Reform regarding the workshop. “This method ensures that we have an accurate registration list and minimizes last-minute cancellations and no-shows. Employees are not asked to pay for this program using personal funds.”

Campus Reform reached out to other professors but did not receive comment in time for publication.

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