Pause in Cal Lutheran Athletics diversity and inclusion training


File Photo by Isaiah Volk

Cal Lutheran’s Athletics department initiated the RISE diversity training for athletes in spring 2020. The training program has been paused as a result of the pandemic.

Alijah Hernandez, Reporter

California Lutheran University Athletics hasn’t held a Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) virtual workshop since May.

“There is a sense of urgency in all of the university’s anti-racism efforts because this is incredibly important work that needs to be done, but it will take continuous effort and commitment over time to bring about all the change that our community deserves,” Jim McHugh, associate vice president for Athletic Affairs said in an email interview.

In a May interview with The Echo, McHugh said coaches will lead workshops with their athletes and all student-athletes will engage in a town hall style meeting with RISE when athletes return to campus.

Now, “the plan is to conduct more virtual workshops with teams throughout the academic year,” McHugh said.

Fourteen student-athlete leaders attended the first training session, McHugh said.

Samantha Carranza, a junior student-athlete on the Track & Field team, participated in the first virtual leadership workshop.

Conversation was facilitated via breakout rooms on Zoom where student-athletes were prompted to answer discussion questions posed by the RISE staff.

“It was a really good way to get awareness on how we view each other and how things can change in the Cal Lutheran community because of what had been going on last semester,” Carranza said.

Carranza said in one activity, participants were asked to write and share 10 ways they define themselves in terms of identity.

“Hearing that and how people identify themselves really helped to see how many different perspectives there are,” Carranza said.

Carranza added even though the Track & Field team is the second biggest team at Cal Lutheran, with people from all backgrounds, these trainings opened her eyes to the lack of diversity in other sports teams on campus.

After these trainings, Carranza said she personally feels prepared to mediate any future diversity and inclusion issues on her team.

Rubina Copano, a junior student-athlete on the Regals tennis team, found the medium in which the training took place less than ideal.

“Yes, the training was helpful I guess, but I do not feel like I learned anything. I prefer more hands on experiences and hearing about it through [others’] points of [view],” Copano said in an email interview.

Though the training did not have the impact Copano said she hoped for, she said it was still nice to see Cal Lutheran encourage inclusiveness among the athletic teams.

“I think they just made me more self-aware of my actions and words and of others’ actions and words,” Copano said.

Carranza said that the RISE workshops helped open her eyes to new and different things that she otherwise would not have thought of.

“It gives you an idea on how you can maybe change the way you think and the way others think as well,” Carranza said.