CSU’s 2021 Diversity Symposium set for Oct. 25-29

Diversity Symposium logo

The 2021 Diversity Symposium at Colorado State University will be offered Oct. 25-29, featuring five days of educational sessions, engagements and keynotes on topics relating to diversity and inclusion for the university and local communities.

This year’s Diversity Symposium is being offered by the Office of Inclusive Excellence in a virtual format to maintain public safety precautions and accessibility standards for its large audience (last year over 2,500 people attended the virtual Symposium). Through a variety of live, online Zoom sessions presented in both meeting and webinar format for maximum interaction, pre-recorded content, powerful keynotes and dozens of opportunities for learning, the Symposium aims to bring the community together to increase knowledge, build skills, and engage with one another.

“The Diversity Symposium is the culmination of a great deal of intention and work by members of the Diversity Symposium Planning Committee,” said Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Kauline Cipriani, Ph.D. “Through contributions from presenters and moderators and partnerships with Rams Read, the ACT Film Festival, MURALS and many more, this year’s Symposium will truly offer something for everyone.”

Yavilah McCoy
Yavilah McCoy

Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers include Yavilah McCoy, the founder of Ayecha, a nonprofit Jewish organization that provided Jewish diversity education and advocacy for Jews of color in the United States. In 2014, she established Dimensions Educational Consulting, through which she continues to support organizations in expanding their relationships across race, religion, identity and culture. Her talk, co-sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence and the Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism, will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Oct. 25.

Mahzarin Banaji, Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, will be featured as the second keynote speaker. Banaji and her colleague coined the term “implicit bias” in the mid-1990s to refer to behavior that occurs without conscious awareness. The focus of Banaji’s keynote, “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People,” is to reveal the surprising and even perplexing ways in which we make errors in assessing and evaluating others when we recruit and hire, onboard and promote, lead teams, undertake succession planning, and work on behalf of our clients or the public we serve. Her talk will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 28.

Mahzarin Banaji
Mahzarin Banaji

‘CSU Inspire’

The Symposium will also feature a “CSU Inspire” program from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 in which five CSU community members will present on passion topics of their choosing in the span of 8–10 minutes. This year’s speakers (and their topics) are Melissa Burt (“Why OUR Voices Matter in the Climate Crisis”), Kari Dockendorff (“Expanding Gendered Possibilities in Higher Education”), Camille Dungy (“Resist Writers Block, Start your Revolution”), Rickey Frierson (“P.E.A.R.L.s of Wisdom”) and Haley Gonzalez (“Student Perspective on Education, Healing and Activism”).

In addition, from 11 a.m. to noon on Oct. 26, the Symposium will host a session titled, “Get to know Dr. Kauline Cipriani, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence.” Finally, on Friday, Oct. 29, the Diversity Symposium will conclude with a special MURALS discussion, highlighting the 2021 winners as they present their scholarly work in the areas of STEMM, Social Sciences/Humanities, Creative Art and Service Learning and Leadership.

In all, there will be 41 opportunities to engage in live Zoom sessions, pre-recorded content, a free film through the ACT Film Festival and more. All events and sessions at the Symposium are free and open to all CSU employees and students, as well as CSU alumni, affiliates, and local community members, and registration is required. The full program is available online, and to register, complete the 2021 Diversity Symposium registration form.


Friday, Oct. 29 | 9–10:30 a.m. MURALS ’21

Engage in dialogue with MURALS ’21 winners as they present their scholarly work in the areas of STEM, social sciences/humanities, creative art as well as in service learning and leadership.

  • Janaye Matthews, MURALS ’21 Overall Winner
  • Rachel Jackson, MURALS ’21 First Place Winner, STEM
  • Alexa Ware and DeVon Washington, MURALS ’21 First Place Winner, Creative Arts
  • Sage Mednansky, MURALS ’21 First Place Winner, Social Sciences/Humanities
  • Maya Siegel, MURALS ’21 First Place Winner, Service Learning and Leadership

To learn more about the 2021 MURALS winners, read the Source story.