The Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) was selected to participate in a nationally funded educational initiative to address hate speech and racially based violence in our nation’s schools. Communicating Common Ground, sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Communication Association, Campus Compact, and American Association of Higher Education involves thirty educational sites nationwide. The initiative supports a pilot partnership between the Department of Communication Studies (CSUN) and Grant High School to develop a school environment where the benefits of a cultural diverse community are actively fostered.
In Fall 2000, the Department of Communication Studies at Cal State Northridge initiated a pilot partnership with Grant High School in Van Nuys, CA to address escalating racial tension at the school. Over the past 15 years, relations between Latino and Armenian students have worsened to the point where annual riots have become a tradition. The collaborative project, which brings CSUN students in the Intercultural Communication class into the high school to work with 9th and 10th graders aims to relieve tensions by facilitating dialogue and understanding across ethnic and racial groups. The overall goal of the partnership is to create a school environment where cultural differences are fostered and utilized as valuable resources.