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Student Conference on Diversity and Justice Set

Student Conference on Diversity and Justice Set


Sean Massey
Professor Sean Massey

Sean G. Massey, an associate professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at Binghamton University, will deliver the keynote speech on Saturday, April 12, during SUNY Cortland’s fifth annual Student Conference on Diversity, Equity and Social Justice.

Massey, whose research has focused on sexuality and gender, anti-homosexual prejudice, same-sex parenting, queer theory and the relationship between social science and social change, will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Organized by students, the conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in Corey Union, with a special screening of the 1993 film, “Schindler’s List,” at 4:30 p.m.

The event continues Women's History Month at SUNY Cortland, which features a series of lectures, concerts and performances and programs during March and April. For a listing of additional events, visit the Women's Initiatives website.

This year’s theme is “Speak Up, Speak Out,” which undergraduate and graduate students will explore across disciplines in many presentations of their scholarship and research. 

“Silence is the single greatest mechanism that allows hate and intolerance to infect a community,” said Noelle Chaddock Paley, the College’s director of multicultural life and diversity. “Speaking up and speaking out are brave, strong actions that can change a life, a culture and maybe even the world.”

The conference serves as an opportunity for participants to develop and nurture skills that will help move them through the next stages of their academic and professional lives, while sharing their current research and experiences with their peers, mentors and supporters, Chaddock Paley said.

Massey studied social personality psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), where he earned a master of philosophy degree and a doctorate from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Last year, the New York State Department of Health awarded him a LGBT Health and Human Services Grant for $615,000.

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY presented him with a 2004 Paul Monette-Roger Horwitz Dissertation Prize, Honorable Mention. The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association recognized him for his news/feature story in 2001.

Another conference highlight will be Melanie Littlejohn, the director of community and customer management for the Central New York Division of National Grid. She opens the conference with welcoming remarks at 9 a.m.

A regional executive with the company since 2011, Littlejohn is responsible for establishing and maintaining strong local relationships that drive superior customer satisfaction and enhanced company reputation. She has received numerous awards, including the 2012 House of Providence Humanitarian Award and the 2011 Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business award. She has served as a judge for New York’s Creative Core Competition for Emerging Businesses and as a facilitator for the Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism.

Melanie Littlejohn
Melanie Littlejohn

The conference will conclude with “Schindler’s List,” co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. Based on the novel, Schindler’s Ark, by Australian author Thomas Keneally, the film tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

The deadline to register for the conference, which includes breakfast and lunch, is Monday, March 24. The conference fee is $30 for undergraduate students, $35 for graduate students and faculty/staff and $25 for SUNY Cortland alumni.

To find out more about the conference, group fee discounts or to obtain the registration form, visit the conference website or call the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office at or at 607-753-2336.