What is tolerance?

What exactly constitutes tolerance? Is it acceptance towards different individuals or groups and their behaviors, thoughts, ideas or beliefs? I was recently privileged to have the opportunity to experience a very positive and informative Diversity Seminar coordinated through the Counseling and Student Development Center at NIU.

The information presented, issues discussed, and action plans developed were of vital importance to all members of today’s troubled society. Topics ranging from ethnicity, racism, homo-phobia, hetrosexism and religious beliefs/affiliations were enlightening to all in attendance. It would be utopia to suggest that all our incoming freshmen and/or sophomores are currently aware and educated of these “hot topics” to a degree that prepares them to deal with these experiences in life they will inevitably face. It is with this thought in mind that I would suggest many of the university-affiliated organizations take advantage of this wealth of information available and easily accessible. I would further recommend that this presentation or a similar version be included as a part of a core course for all freshmen and/or sophomores at NIU or perhaps included on the orientation sessions for all new students. For it is through education that we can best tackle this beast we call prejudice. As an institution of higher learning we have the responsibility to be leaders in this fight against ignorance. It is time to open our eyes and take action towards achieving a society of tolerance!!

Patti Henderson

Women’s Tennis Coach