Campus Message to Faculty, Staff, and Students 3-10-16
SIU has much to celebrate in spite of the significant stress caused by the state budget impasse. One of the characteristics we should be most proud of – an attribute that dates to our very beginning – is the diversity of those who make SIU their academic and professional home.
Given the value we place on diversity, I believe it is important that we make space for conversations about campus climate and culture, race and ethnicity, identity, and respect for everyone on our campus. To help make this happen, I have asked staff in the Center for Inclusive Excellence and the Office of Diversity and Equity to develop a plan to expand and promote conversations and workshops that focus on the importance of valuing and respecting diversity. Your participation is strongly encouraged. While we will continue to offer programs this spring semester, I anticipate an even more robust and ongoing effort in the new academic year.
Further, I think it is important that we assess the climate of our campus so that we can identify areas we could improve and strengths we need to build upon. In fact, I am asking the Office of Diversity and Equity to conduct a campus climate survey in the fall.
In short, I believe it takes understanding, respect and a willingness to have open, civil discussion about issues in order to create an environment that allows everyone on our campus to reach their full potential. When missteps are made, often through lack of understanding, we must use them as an opportunity to open up the space for conversation that can benefit the entire campus.
I appreciate your participation in this conversation and all you do to ensure that we truly welcome and support our entire community.