Sims-Medley plans Rainbow Research Celebration

Michael Ross, Contributing Writer

The Rainbow Research Celebration will be held in the Tippie Alumni Center on April 22, sponsored in part by the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success. The event will showcase faculty and student work on campus concerning the LGBTQ+ community.

The event was thought up by Hope Sims-Medley, ’18, whose original vision was of an opportunity for students who do extensive research to exhibit their work in a meaningful way.

Sims-Medley said the substantial effort poured into this research is often overshadowed by the relief felt by students when they finish.

We have a commitment to talk about the variety of ways in which diversification…actually helps to improve and enrich the Allegheny community”

— Brian Saltsman

“Sometimes I feel like comps are, you know, you do it, you get it out of the way, and then you burn it,” said Sims-Medley.

Sims-Medley hopes this event will validate the significance of the research and place it into the context of issues on this campus.

After approaching Associate Professor of Psychology Ryan Pickering, Sims-Medley applied for the diversity innovation fund to pay for the event.

Pickering discusses topics such as diversity and inclusivity in his 100-level prejudice class, where they are doing similar research.

Brian Saltsman, the director of CIASS and assistant professor of black studies, said the college has an obligation to discuss diversity and inclusivity.

“We have a commitment to talk about the variety of ways in which diversification…actually helps to improve and enrich the Allegheny community, the broader Meadville community, and things like that,” Saltsman said. “It’s paramount for us to do what we can and ultimately support all of those initiatives.”

Allegheny Student Government Director of Diversity and Inclusivity Connor Racine, ’16, is working on developing a pan-diversity committee, which would allow for all organizations representative of student diversity to have a mutually beneficial conversation on LGBTQ+ issues facing the campus.

Sims-Medley, Racine and Pickering all emphasized the importance in the confluence of many separate conversations occurring on campus.

“I think that, moving forward, we’re thinking about how to make sure that we consider the sort of divergent experience of people within those groups even though we are one community,” said Pickering.

Pickering cited Racine and Sims-Medley as important resources in connecting with potential contributors, as Pickering is a relatively new presence on campus.

“I think we’re thinking about this as a different approach, right? We’re not trying to teach sensitivity, or we’re not trying to teach diversity, we’re just celebrating what’s already here,” Pickering said.

The event parameters are broad in terms of the work they will be accepting, ranging from formal thesis papers to musical compositions and studio art projects.

“The medium isn’t necessarily being filtered, because you can put a lot of research and thought into, say, an art piece, or a music piece,” Sims-Medley said.

Because the group is still early in the planning process, they were unable to provide specifics on any of the projects to be displayed.

Sims-Medley did confirm that she has spoken with friends who may contribute.

“You’ll have to come and see,” said Sims-Medley.