BYU offers diversity and intersectionality class for all students

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Brigham Young University offers a course called “Understanding Self and Others: Diversity and Intersectionality.”

While most classes that teach diversity cater to students in a particular major, STDEV 214R is open to all majors.

Ben Schilaty is the course professor and has a lot of knowledge to share regarding the topics that are covered in the class. Schilaty is an administrator at BYU, and along with teaching STDEV 214R, he will teach a Spanish course as well.

Professor Ben Schilaty shows off his rainbow socks in support of LGBT students at BYU. (Ben Schilaty)

Schilaty said he has witnessed some incredibly hurtful things said to and about minority students at BYU. “I believe that most of the unkind things that happen have their root in ignorance and not in malice. When students know better, they do better,” Schilaty said.

His purpose in teaching the class is to educate students in a safe environment where sensitive topics can be discussed with respect, curiosity and humility.

“I have always wanted to learn more about how to understand and help those who are of the minority on campus; however, I have worried I may offend when I ask questions,” student Taylor Madsen said. “I think it’s awesome BYU is now offering a class that will create an environment for students to feel comfortable asking questions regarding these topics.”

Charlie Bird, a friend of Schilaty’s, shared his excitement and thoughts regarding the class. “One of the ways that we learn about God is to learn about His children. We are all created in His image. Learning about diversity and how to honor and respect those who are different than us helps us grow and achieve the aims of a BYU education,” Bird said.

The aims of a BYU education are to be spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building, and lead to life long learning and service.

“All course components align with the aims of a BYU education, meaning they support the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Schilaty said.

This course will be available Winter Semester to help students build a foundation of understanding about themselves and others.

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