Chuo University held the second annual Chuo Anti-Harassment Awareness and Diversity Week (hereafter the Diversity Week) from December 6th to 14th, 2019, at the Tama and Korakuen Campuses. Over the nine-day period, there were film screenings, various lectures, workshops and exhibitions that covered the three central areas of diversity we have been working on: disabilities, gender/sexual diversity, and global/cultural diversity. (See here for details of the events.)
This article will give an outline of the wide-ranging events during the week, and also introduce the support from the students who were involved in organising many of the events. Through this reflection, I hope to share the vision of Chuo University as a place that is becoming more open and inclusive to diversity, where students and staff members work together for a shared goal.
During the nine days, a total of six lectures, two workshops, and two film screenings took place at our two campuses. The central theme of this year was disability, and the lectures by two prominent scholars on Disability Studies, namely Jun Ishikawa and Harumi Kimura, were given at the Tama Campus as highlights of the Diversity Week. These fascinating lectures introduced latest discussions about the rights of disabled people, in both international and domestic contexts, inviting the audience to review and rethink their understanding of disability. There was also a mini-lecture on crime prevention at the Tama campus which reminded us of the importance of physical safety on campus.
At the Korakuen Campus, another inspiring lecture titled "Disabilities and Technology" was given by Takaya Aono, a 4th year student at the Faculty of Letters who is also a para-athlete, under the coordination of Shunji Moromugi, associate professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
The film screenings were organised through cooperation between Miwa Ota, professor at the Faculty of Letters, and her students. The films shown were Entoko no Uta (Songs of Entoko) and Keiko Fukuda: Joshi Judo no Pioneer (Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful).
In the Chuo University Library, there was an exhibition of a collection of 130 relevant books in the second floor Exhibition Space, as well as a small display of the anti-harassment campaign posters in the first floor Exhibition hall. The co-op bookstore also held a special book fair. Many students and faculty members stopped by at these exhibits and browsed interesting books and journals.
After many meetings and discussions in preparation for this event, they were all excited to listen to Endo's excellent introductory lecture on gender/sexual diversity in education. In the student-led workshop after the lecture, participants were divided into small groups and had lively discussions about gender/sexual diversity in their everyday life on and off campus.Their candid, experience-based opinions provided significant input that would not have surfaced in a faculty-led project. The workshop was closed with the constructive feedback by Endo. We all felt that the lecture and workshop helped further motivate students, as invaluable members of Chuo University, to make their voices heard.
At the following weekend, the final lecture of our 2019 LGBT Lecture Series, "LGBT and Children/Youth", took place in the Korakuen Campus to conclude the Diversity Week 2019. The same group of students helped organising the event--some of them as volunteers and others as enthusiastic audience. Then, on Monday, December 16, right after the end of the week, there was the screening of the film Kalanchoe no Hana, a film about "outing" of a lesbian student at high school, where we welcomed students and a teacher of the Chuo University High School. Again, one of our student volunteers offered their comment on the film based on their own experience, and thought-provoking exchanges took place among participants after the film ended.