LA GRANDE — Faculty and staff of Eastern Oregon University return for the university’s 90th academic year on Sept. 16, as the fall term begins with the convocation and opening session.

Among the annual lineup of training and orientation for new and returning employees, EOU will host “The Defamation Experience,” which aims to spark discussion about diversity and inclusion. A courtroom drama and follow-up deliberation explore issues of race, class, religion and gender.

Davon Dunajski, who chairs EOU’s Diversity Committee, said the performance and ensuing conversations encourage participants to consider perspectives other than their own.

“It’s really hard for people to understand something outside of their own experience or perspective. This will give an opportunity to present different perspectives in a way that’s more personal and authentic,” he said. “For Eastern Oregon University to reach its utmost potential, the entire populace must move forward together. By bringing ‘The Defamation Experience’ to campus, we want to bring new perspectives that will allow for new conversations.”

Now in its 10th year, the three-phase interactive diversity program has been presented nearly 500 times and seen by more than 100,000 people nationwide.

EOU President Tom Insko will share a “State of the University” address in the afternoon, followed by a reception. Faculty members spend the rest of the week in orientation and training, as students move back into the residence halls on Sept. 20, and classes begin Sept. 25.

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