Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observed On Campus

University presents numerous activities, expands work of committee on diversity and inclusivity

Neal Burdick '72

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed two days before classes began in January, but, Laurentians simply deferred appropriate observances on campus to later that week. Surrounding the theme “Celebrate and Challenge,” events included:

  • A Gunnison Memorial Chapel Service of Song and Readings, “Let Freedom Ring,” featuring several St. Lawrence choirs (see the inside front cover for a picture from this festive yet solemn occasion).
  • A community service project, packing brown-bag lunches for deserving children in Canton.
  • Community-wide participation in the Race Card Project, which asks, “How would you distill your thoughts, experiences or observations about race into one sentence that only has six words?” (We will have more on this in our next issue.)
  • Creation of an online presence with the hashtag #LetsTalkSLU, “with the hope that the conversation will continue after the programming is done,” said Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Valerie Lehr in a campus announcement. 

Observances expanded into February, with a free “Noon in the Chapel” concert of music for Black History Month, from the evolution of spirituals to the Civil Rights Movement. The concert featured both organ and vocal performances.  

Simultaneously, the University Committee on Diversity and Inclusivity has instituted sub-committees to attend to the following:

  • Concerns on the part of students who feel marginalized or belittled in the classroom on account of their race, nationality or religion. 
  • Campus climate assessments, bias response plans, and ways to attract, retain and mentor diverse faculty and staff.
  • Curricular and co-curricular programming, such as events for Orientation, a symposium and programming in conjunction with Presidential Diversity Scholar award recipients.