Podcast talks diversity, reflects on student walkouts

“Settle in to the sounds of social change,” says Sylvia Spears, vice president for diversity and inclusion, at the beginning of each episode of Common Ground.

The podcast was launched by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion early this past summer, intended as a safe space for Emerson community members to talk.

The podcast’s three episodes have featured reflections from students, faculty, and staff regarding the student walkout during the Faculty Assembly in April 2015.

“We have almost 4,000 students, and the majority of them didn’t know about the walkout,” said Spears in an interview. “The most important thing was to provide a first-hand account of what happened and why it happened. We needed to provide baseline information to the community.”

Among the students featured are junior political communication major Alexandria Ellison, junior visual and media arts major Nathaniel Charles, junior performing arts major Sheba Woods, and junior visual and media arts major Anna Drummond.

“Common Ground is a great part of the response to the protests,” Sheba Wood, who appeared on the series’ fourth episode and is the Student Government Association’s multicultural commissioner, said. “[The Office of Diversity and Inclusion] has done a great job at addressing these issues and starting dialogue. Which is good, because as a community, we won’t be able to move forward until we communicate.”