Pacific Will be Represented at a Major National Conference on Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice in Portland This Spring

Members of the Pacific University community will have a rare opportunity this spring to attend a prestigious national conference on race, ethnicity and social justice in higher education. The National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, or NCORE, traditionally draws delegates from Pacific, but this is the first year it will be held in Oregon. The four-day conference takes place May 29 through June 1 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. An optional pre-conference day takes place May 28. Organizers have named Oregon educator, artist and writer Walidah Imarisha to be keynote speaker.

Narce Rodriguez, Pacific’s executive director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, says she’s attended NCORE for many years and last year led a Pacific delegation that included senior university officials and students. She says it gives people of color a place where they belong. “We go to feed our souls,” she said. “Everybody gets it. We don’t have to explain what people of color feel.”

The conference was launched 30 years ago by the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies at the University of Oklahoma. It focuses on emerging issues in institutions of higher learning, sharing best practices and providing planning, policy guidance and training to attendees and schools around the country. The 2018 conference in New Orleans, for example, included sessions on social justice, financial literacy, Black Lives Matter and activism, an intergenerational conversation about multiracial identity, mentoring undergraduate students of color, being Muslim, Arab, South Asian or Sikh in the age of Donald Trump, raising multicultural competence and many other subjects. Presenters brought perspectives from campuses across the country.

“NCORE was the most powerful and inspiring conference I’ve ever attended,” said Genevieve Arnaut, professor and director of PsyD Clinical Training at Pacific’s School of Graduate Psychology in Hillsboro, by email. “The programming was comprehensive and thought-provoking, the presenters were extremely knowledgeable, and the attendees were deeply committed to diversity …. I highly recommend that all higher education faculty attend this conference.”

Sessions are geared to a range of audiences, from researchers to trustees to undergraduate students.

“NCORE was a great experience,” Lishao Chen ’18, said by email. “However, I wish there were more students from Pacific University had the opportunity to go.”

This year, they will. Registration is open now, and Pacific will send a limited delegation of faculty, staff and students. If they’re interested in attending, students should contact Alicia Fox, interim Student Multicultural Center coordinator. Faculty members should consult their department chairs, directors or deans.

Jan. 8, 2019