The Beacon Spotlighting inclusivity at James Madison University

Welcome to JMU Office of Access & Inclusion's Newsletter

Welcome to the March 2018 issue of The Beacon. From the Diversity Conference to talks and lectures, artistic exhibitions, presentations, Disability Awareness Week activities and more, this issue will connect you with abundant opportunities to participate in events happening across campus in the coming days.

Looking ahead to these programs, the wide range of expertise and topics of discussion are impressive. Whether you wish to learn more about an aspect of diversity with which you already have some familiarity or you want to learn more about something which is newer to you, you will find topics related to race, gender, ability status, activism, history, contemporary issues and culture.

In this issue, news about our colleagues and highlights from the community in action are celebrated. So, read and enjoy. Your only difficulty will be deciding what to attend!

Valeria Schoolcraft, Director, Office of Disability Services


Film Screening and Q&A with filmmakers of An Outrage

Tuesday, March 13 6:30-8:00 p.m. Madison Hall, Room 1001
Looking forward to seeing you at the 12th Annual JMU Diversity Conference. Registration is now closed. Walk-in registration is available for a limited number of open sessions and opens at 8:00 a.m.

Linking Meandering Paths Art Exhibit

Korean-Americans Sukjin Choi and Anna Westfall explore the influences of two different cultures on identity in the exhibition. March 12th-23rd Opening Reception March 14th 3:00-4:00 p.m. Lisanby Museum - Festival

Democracy in Peril

Since When Did Compromise Become a Bad Thing?

Former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will talk about his experiences in politics and government and the surging partisanship and ideological rigidity that make it difficult for government to function as intended. Mr. Bolling will also offer his thoughts on why we as a society have become so divided, and why many now see compromise, which he calls "the essence of a working democracy," as a bad thing. Thursday, March 15th 5:00p.m. Madison Hall, Room 1001

Student identity, equity, and inclusion in STEM active learning classrooms

Sara Brownell Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences Arizona State University: Friday, March 16th 12:30-2:00 p.m. Madison Union 256

Viewpoints on Health Combating Structural Racism: Class, Clinic, and Community

Anthony Schlaff, MD, MPH Director of the Public Health Program Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine Tufts University School of Medicine: Thursday, March 22 5:30 p.m. HBS 5040

Poetry Without Boundaries

2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess and distinguished poets Brenda Marie Osbey and Anastacia Renee will read excerpts from their most recent works and will be available for book signings. Thursday, March 22 7:00 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium

The Purpose of the University: Higher Education in an Age of Polarization

Brian Rosenberg, President of Macalester College: Tuesday, March 27th, 5:30p.m. 5040 Health & Behavioral Studies Building

Taking Ownership: Making films of Race and History

Kevin Willmott, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies - University of Kansas: Thursday, March 29, 5:30p.m. 2105 Harrison Hall

Disability Awareness Week Keynote

Speaker, Author, Athlete Tricia Downing

Transitioning from being a competitive cyclist to requiring a wheelchair for mobility, Tricia has faced adversity and redefined able to pursue her goals. Since her accident in 2000, Tricia has completed in over 100 races, ranging from marathons to triathlons and that is just the beginning! Tricia is also a Paralympian and author of Cycle of Hope- A Journey from Paralysis to Possibility. Today, she continues to take people on their journeys to find their own “inner champions”. Sign language interpreters and CART services will be provided. Monday, March 26th, 7:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom

Poetry Reading

Gabrielle Calvocoressi and Jennifer Change: March 27th, 5:30 p.m. Madison Union 404

Adoration and Art Exhibit

Throughout time, religious spaces have been designed to set apart the sacred from the every day. This exhibition explores—through the eyes of Honor student Fiona Wirth—the artistic traditions of the ancient Mediterranean through early modern cultures that infused holy sites with the presence of the divine. April 2 - 26 Lisanby Museum - Festival

Madison Vision Series

Jim Acosta

Jim Acosta (’93) is CNN senior White House correspondent, currently covering the Trump administration and previously covered the Obama administration from the White House and around the world. He regularly covers presidential press conferences, visits by heads of states, and issues impacting the Executive Branch of the federal government. Thursday, April 5 at 3:30 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium

Working with Transgender and Gender Variant Populations: Health Considerations

Christy Olezeski - Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine: Thursday, April 5th, 5:30 p.m. 256 Madison Union

Men in Power Panel

A Q&A panel of JMU staff and faculty focused around topics such as privilege and power, sexual and intimate partner violence, masculinity, and allyship.

Wednesday, April 11th, 6:00 p.m., Festival Ballroom B/C

Film Screening: Audrie & Daisy

Audrie & Daisy is an urgent real-life drama that examines the ripple effects on families, friends, schools and communities when two underage young women find that sexual assault crimes against them have been caught on camera. A facilitated discussion will follow the film showing. Monday, April 16th, 6:00 p.m. Grafton Stovall Theatre

Activism at the Crossroads: Fugitive Sanctuary and Coalition Possibilities through Queered Immigrant Politics

Karma Chavez Associate Professor, Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, University of Texas, Austin: Wednesday, April 18th, 7:00 p.m. 1101 Miller Hall

Cultura y Comunidad Keynote: Supporting Learning for the Benefit of All

Amelia Tseng Teaching Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University and Research Associate, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage: Thursday, April 19 7:00 p.m. Health and Behavioral Studies Building Room G040

Transitional Justice Lessons for America from ‘S***hole’ Countries

Hugo van der Merwe Director of Research, Knowledge and Learning, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Braamfontein/Cape Town, South Africa Tuesday, April 24, 4:00pm Madison Union

Student Focused Events

Connect with CMSS for a variety of events that include:

March 16: Women of Color togetHER Conference

March 19: Exploring our Latinx identity

March 26th: Central America: Heartbreak and Helplessness

March 28th: DEEP Dialogue: Disability Awareness Week Unpacking Inspiration

March 31st: African Student Org - Taste of Africa

April 4th: Chinese Student Assoc. Culture Show

April 7th: Latino Student Alliance Celebracion Latina

April 11th: NAACP Image Awards

April 17th: Women of Color - Fragile Masculinity Program

May 1st: Donning of the Kente

Thursday, March 22nd 6:00 p.m. - Saturday, March 24th 3:00 p.m.

Connect for a variety of events that include:

Queers & Coffee: March 16th (with guests from the Virginia Anti-Violence Projects), April 10th and 18th

Puppy Pride: March 28th, April 25th and 26th

Out on Campus Dialogues: April 4th

Lavender Graduation: April 19th

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Speakers Andrea Pino and Annie Clark from the film The Hunting Ground and the organization End Rape on Campus: Tuesday, April 3rd, 7:00 p.m. Grafton Stovall Theatre

Take Back the Night Speak-out: Thursday, April 5th, 6:30 p.m. Lakeview 1104

What Were You Wearing Gallery: April 9-15th, Madison Union Airport Lounge

CARE Resource Room: Friday, April 13th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Student Success Center 1075

Film Screening of Audrie & Daisy: Monday, April 16th, 6:00 p.m., Grafton Stovall Theatre

Open Mic Night: Tuesday, April 17th, 6:30 p.m. Taylor Down Under


Mark Warner

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Accessibility - It's Personal

My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She went from being a physically active person to a quadriplegic. I watched her become dependent on a cane, leg brace, arm brace and then she moved to a wheelchair. Access in those days was unheard of.
I watched JMU evolve from a non-accessible campus to an accessible campus. Because of what I experienced in my younger years, I have a great appreciation for the changes that have been made.

Intentionally Infusing Cultural Awareness in Clinical Simulation Labs

Faculty determined that they would intentionally thread diverse experiences through the undergraduate curriculum using clinical simulation. Simulation is a high impact, dynamic teaching modality that uses high fidelity manikins and actors to portray patients and family members.
Simulation focuses designed to achieve increased cultural sensitivity and awareness include language, faith, disabilities and sexual orientation. Through these simulation experiences, students learn a myriad of skills that will translate to better patient care for the communities they serve.


Campus Accessibility Info

Available Now!

Current accessibility info is now available on most building webpages. Info includes: Nearest Accessible Parking, Description of Accessible Entrance, Between Floor Access, Family/Gender Neutral Restrooms, Lactation and Baby Changing Stations, ADA Technology availability. Be sure to include a link to the building page when promoting campus events: “for venue accessibility please click here”
Did you know that JMU has a minor in disability studies? New this year, this minor engages students in an examination of the many ways disability is defined and constructed. The minor in disability studies is open to all undergraduate students.

Inclusive displays at Carrier Library

Now through August - Black & White on Bluestone Hill: JMU’s Racial History in the Archives Carrier Library, Second floor and March 15th – April 15th Disability Resources Display Carrier Library, First Floor

and photos from around campus since our last edition...

31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: Formal Program; MLK March and Day of Service; Lynn Pasquarella; Culture Nights – The African Continent and Spicy Food; The Future is Female; USA Paralympic athlete Adam Ballou

Recognition and Awards

COMPASS Award Winners

For demonstrated outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion at JMU.

Visionary – School of Nursing

Leader – Latin American & Caribbean Studies Leadership Committee

Advocate – LGBTQ & Ally Education Program

Catalyst – Facilities Management team members

In honor of the first year of the COMPASS Awards, Joyce Guthrie is recognized with an overall Compass Award as she exemplifies all of the above qualities.

Woman of Distinction Award Winners

Teaching Faculty: Dr. Amy Russell Yun

A&P Faculty: Kathleen Sensabaugh

Classified/Wage Staff: Emily Winter

Students: Ariana Tutko

Professors Moran and Gabriele earn highest honor

Dr. Moran, professor of kinesiology, has dedicated his career to empowering students, local communities, and physical education professionals to overcome barriers and enable persons with disabilities to participate in physical exercise programs. A professor of biology, Dr. Gabriele has won highly competitive grants—including from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation—for his work on the neurological underpinnings of hearing disorders.

Charles May, Jr. receives Alumni Service Award

Hoping to improve the percentage of African Americans at JMU, Charles May founded the Ole School Alumni Group. May, along with over 100 other alumni who graduated during the 1980s, award two annual scholarships to deserving African American students. Over the years, the group has given over $54,000 in scholarship.

Broaden your diversity IQ

A glimpse of significant dates in March, April, and May

March is Women’s History Month. Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.

March is also National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which was established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

March 2: Holi is a Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival celebrated by throwing colored powder and water at each other.

March 8: International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

March 13 – April 15: Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf.

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday started in Ireland to recognize St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

March 30-April 7: Passover is an eight-day Jewish holiday and festival in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

April is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

April 1: Easter is a holiday celebrated by Christians to recognize Jesus’ return from death after the crucifixion.

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day which was created to raise awareness of the developmental disorder around the globe.

April 22: Earth Day promotes peace and sustainability of planet Earth. Events are held globally to show support of environmental protection of the earth.

April 23 (Evening) - April 24 (Evening): Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living”- former President Barack Obama.

April 27: The Day of Silence during which participants take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment.

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

May is also Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

May 5: Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, including parades and mariachi music performances.

May 15 (sunset)-June 15: Ramadan is an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer and devotion to Islam.

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is a global celebration of sexual-orientation and gender diversities.

May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.

May 28: Memorial Day in the United States is a federal holiday established to honor military veterans who died in wars fought by American forces.

As an institution of higher education named for the Father of the Constitution, there is no higher calling for JMU than to be a beacon of civil discourse on the major issues of our time. True learning is only possible when we put aside our differences, and begin listening to one another. That is what higher education is all about. - President Alger

The Beacon has been created by the Office of Access & Inclusion to share the good work of academic and administrative departments, students, affinity groups and more in supporting diversity and inclusion at JMU. If you have an article or upcoming event that should be considered for the next newsletter please send us an email:


Created with images by JMU University Marketing Photography Department; Sandra Silberzweig, Mart Woolcott Photography

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