Racial diversity has evolved over the past few decades, but UCF's College of Engineering and Computer Science still looks to raise awareness.

At a workshop held by the college's Office of Diversity and Inclusion on Thursday, panelists and audience members discussed diversity issues and the media's role in shaping it.

Moderated by Michael Felix, the workshop hosted a panel of speakers who discussed topics on post-racial America.

Panelists discussed topics such as racial preference, discrimination and prejudice in institutions of higher education and in the workforce and the media's role in shaping racial perspectives.

Associate Professor of Sociology Scott Carter chimed in and said, "racism hasn't diminished, it has changed.

"We have moved past the place where race continues to predict, or be a predictor, or various outcomes including employment, wage differences, and incarceration rates," he said.

Panelists also included: psychologist, Dr. Tamalia Hanchell; UCF Student Counseling Specialist Robert Dwyer; Associate Dean Melvin Rogers; Director of the Center of Law and Policy Cynthia Schmidt; Executive Director and General Manager of WUCF TV Polly Anderson; Deputy Chief of UCF Police Department Carl Metzger and Officer Joel Witherspoon.

Once the discussion moved to the media's role in shaping racial perspectives, panelists had varying opinions.

"The media has driven a lot of the conversation in a positive and negative way," Metzger said.

Anderson said traditional media is not helpful in promoting diversity, and it adds to the problem because traditional news media are heavily influenced by the business of a ratings system.

The discussion opened up to the audience for possible solutions to overcome racial issues and promote diversity, and panelists and audience members generally agreed that things will improve with time.


Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @atticus_adrift or email him at

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