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BU Student Affairs Conference Discusses Ways to Challenge Social Biases

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The Division of Student Affairs at Binghamton University held a full day conference to discuss ways to challenge social biases at the University and in the community.

"We've talked about civic engagement, assessment, some First Amendment rights, some things that hopefully we can give back to our students and really start to think outside of our comfort zone too," said Betsy Staff, Conference Co-Chair.

The event ran from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 in the afternoon and was broken down into multiple sessions. Each session tackled a different issue including social justice, microaggressions, empathy, and creating a community which are all topics that organizers hoped the participants would take back to the students they oversee on campus.

"This is an opportunity for professionals within the field of student affairs to get together to examine what we do and talk about best practices," said Stephen Rebello, Conference Co-Chair.

Organizers hoped the lessons taught at the conference will be passed along to students at Binghamton University, so they can challenge their own biases.

"In higher education, the whole point of college is to learn and to grow and so we want them to start exploring those things and get out of their comfort zone," said Staff.

The Keynote Speaker was Johanna Dunaway who is an associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University. Her work includes extensive research on the relationship between the structural and contextual features of media outlets and election news content.

The event concluded with a panel of local media personalities including Fox 40's News Director, Suh Neubauer who discussed where news comes from and how people in the community can consume information more responsibly.

"It's an opportunity for us to look at things from the media perspective and find out where the facts are coming from," said Rebello.

The Division of Student Affairs holds a conference like this every two years and expects to do the same in 2019.