K-State reaches diversity and inclusion milestone

The Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is located on the east side of the Student Union. (Archive photo by Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State marked itself as the first university in Kansas to partake in the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers program on Nov. 17. According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the program intends to prepare the next generation of leaders to break down systemic racism and dismantle belief in a hierarchy of human value.

TRHT is just one of many courses of action the university plans on implementing, per K-State’s diversity and inclusion action plan that began in the summer of 2020 to combat racial inequity and other social injustices at K-State.

Some of K-State’s goals for the action plan include telling “the inclusive history of Kansas State University” and to “implement racial healing circles.”

The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation program is not new — it was developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the American Association of Colleges and Universities in 2016. According to The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, TRHT is “a comprehensive, national and community-based process to bring about transformational and sustainable change.”

Caleb Chan, sophomore in computer science, said TRHT is a great step for the university.

“I think it’s pretty cool that K-State is doing that, and it makes sense to have at a big university like ours, especially for Asians. We have a very small community, so it is important for people to think about us,” Chan said.

Chan said this could be beneficial. 

“There was a big culture shock coming to K-State with all the western culture here, so TRHT can be beneficial and welcoming for us minority groups,” Chan said. “I look forward to seeing this happen.”

Timothy Larson, freshman in computer science, said he encourages these programs for students on campus.

“I think it’s great. Everybody deserves to be treated equally, especially at Kansas State where we are all pursuing a better education,” Larson said. 

Daniel Valadez, freshman in marketing, said racism is a bigger issue than just what is seen at K-State.

“I think THRT would be beneficial to have. As a Mexican-American I haven’t experienced any racism first-hand, but I’ve definitely heard stories of it,” Valadez said. “It’s a problem around the world, not just on campus.” 

Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students, said K-State can expect great things from the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ TRHT program.

“Our participation as a TRHT campus will help our students, staff, faculty and community members grow intellectually, socially, economically and civically,” according to The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Lane said K-State’s approach to defining and advocating awareness for racial and social issues on and off campus stands to create meaningful change for the benefit of all students as they emerge into the world. When the program is expected to be enacted on campus is, as of now, undetermined, Lane said.