Diversity and Civility Film Series allows students to discuss sensitive topics
Sometimes it is hard to talk about sensitive topics like race, homosexuality and disabilities without offending others. The Diversity and Civility Film Series will give students a chance to discuss these topics and others in a tolerant and non-threatening environment.
"Students seldom get the chance to discuss these types of topics in an educational way," said Megan Randolph, the coordinator of Student Leadership at Campus Life and Event Services at Southeast Missouri State University. "This series also gives the staff the chance to share their other passions and interests."
Each film will be followed with a discussion of the relevant themes and issues, which will be facilitated by a member of the Southeast staff. The presenters are Southeast staff chosen on a volunteer basis, and they choose the films to be viewed and discussed. Films are chosen based upon what issues they address and their timeliness.
The series began on Sept. 17 with "Remember the Titans." The film is about a high school football team in the middle of desegregation of schools. The football players overcome their differences and band together to serve as an example to their segregated town. After the film, students discussed teamwork, race and making change in the world.
"Heather Brake, one of the facilitators in the series, was interested in facilitating a film on race and diversity, and she chose this film because of its reliability and popularity," Randolph said.
In honor of Disabilities Awareness Month, "Dolphin Tale" will be shown at 5 p.m. Oct. 8 in the University Center Redhawks Room. The film is about a dolphin that had its tail amputated after being removed from a fishing net. At the same time, a soldier lost a leg during his tour of duty. Both of them struggle to rehabilitate themselves after being fitted for prosthetics, and the two stories intersect.
"I chose this film because it was current and had a strong message," said Emily Oliveira, Disability Services coordinator and facilitator of the film. "There were other movies I was considering, but they might have been too graphic for some people. It also has some good points and highlights veterans."
"Waiting for Superman" will be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Redhawks Room. The documentary from the director of "An Inconvenient Truth" analyzes American public education and its shortcomings by following students as they try to get accepted into a charter school.
Suzanne McKinney of the International Center's Intensive English Program will show "Crossing Borders" at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Redhawks Room. In honor of International Education Week, the audience will be able to discuss cross-cultural understanding, nationality, religion and stereotypes.
At 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Redhawks Room, Brake will break the trend of showing films and instead show clips from the television show "Glee." The show is about a high school glee club and its members while they deal with various issues such as sexuality and relationships.
The series is planned to continue into the 2013 spring semester.
"Tentative films include 'Mona Lisa Smile' during Women's History Month," Randolph said. "'Ghandi' to wrap up the series and a few more to be determined."
All dates and times for the films are tentative. For more information or to request a film, visit the Diversity and Civility Film Series page on semo.edu. The page will be updated as more films are confirmed.