1,100 attend Teach-In

Lisa Perhamus, assistant professor of education, leads a Teach-In session March 26 at the Mary Idema Pew Library.
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Lisa Perhamus, assistant professor of education, leads a Teach-In session March 26 at the Mary Idema Pew Library.
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In one room, people discussed what to do when overhearing a racist joke. In another room, the presenters talked about what it’s like to get around campus in a wheelchair.

The Teach-In on March 26 saw these difficult but important conversations happening all day in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons. More than 1,180 participants attended at least one of the 26 sessions.

Lisa Perhamus, assistant professor of education, led two sessions. At one session, she led a discussion of what to do when overhearing off-color or offensive, stereotypical jokes.

She reminded the audience that being a bystander isn’t the answer. “Silence speaks,” said Perhamus, who also holds the Padnos/Sarosik endowed professorship of civil discourse.

Karen Gipson, associate professor of physics and chair of ECS/University Academic Senate, and two students told an audience about what it was like to live with a disability.

Gipson suffered a stroke several years ago and uses a cane. She explained that she continues to work toward recovery, including riding the campus connector bus and sitting in the seats reserved for disabled riders, although those seats are not always available.

“I spent 49 years of my life being able-bodied, now I have an impairment,” she said. “But I have this gift to be an advocate for people with disabilities.”

The Teach-In was sponsored by the Executive Committee of UAS. Collaborative partners were the Division of Inclusion and Equity, Dean of Students Office, LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center and Women’s Center.