NJIT Hosts First-Ever "Teach-In"

Written by: Christina Crovetto,

On Friday, November 10, over 140 students, faculty, and administrators gathered in the Campus Center Atrium for NJIT’s first-ever “Teach-In”: Talking Back to Hate—Challenging the Rhetoric of “Them” and “Us”…at NJIT and in the World.

Six NJIT faculty members opened the event, presenting research that challenges racist and xenophobic views of human identity: What is Race? (Dr. Daniel Bunker, Federated Department of Biology); Eugenics (Dr. Stephen Pemberton, Federated Department of History); Xenophobia in the Current Era (Dr. Theresa Hunt, Humanities Department); US Internment Camps (Dr. Alison Lefkovitz, Federated Department of History);  Confirmation Bias & Selective Exposure in the Digital Age (Dr. John Wolf, Humanities Department and Assistant Dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts). Them vs. Us (Dr. Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, Humanities Department, Murray Center Director, and NJIT Faculty Diversity Officer).

Steffen-Fluhr, who moderated the forum, stressed that “Diversity isn’t just 'nice.' It’s smart. And it’s strong.”  After the faculty talks, she invited audience members to explore their collective strength by discussing creative ways of responding to hate speech and ‘microaggressions’ from peers. Working in small groups with facilitators, participants practiced tactics for interrupting bias without closing down the opportunity for dialog.

The event—the first in a series—was co-sponsored by the Murray Center for Women in Technology, the College of Science and Liberal Arts, the Albert Dorman Honors College, and the Office of the Dean of Students and Campus Life.