Continuing Our Commitment to Inclusion

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

In the weeks following the sexually and racially charged threats and vandalism that occurred on our campus, we have been meeting with students, faculty, staff and members of the broader campus community to continue to work toward short-term and long-term solutions.

We continue to listen to many voices during this process. Both the contributions of groups and individuals have been essential in helping guide this process towards the creation and implementation of positive solutions. Based on the input received from our campus community, I have formed a special task force on diversity and inclusion which is comprised of students, staff, faculty and community members. This task force will work across campus to help identify opportunities and help us formulate goals and solutions. The task force will submit a report to me on or before March 6, 2020. We expect to immediately implement some of the work from the task force while the SU Diversity and Inclusion Consortium Committee will continue their work following the report.

I met and spoke with numerous campus leaders, including representatives from shared governance, and I have decided to relaunch the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at SU. This effort is part of our comprehensive renewed pledge for developing a diverse university community while creating an inclusive and equitable campus climate. In addition, I have decided to create the position of Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). The CDO, who will report directly to me, will provide executive leadership, oversight and vision in the administration of services, programs, policies and procedures related to advancing SU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The CDO will also lead the implementation of a University-wide strategic plan for diversity and inclusion that will provide students, faculty and staff with educational opportunities informed by multiple points of view, life experiences, abilities, ethnicities, cultures and belief systems. The CDO will sit on the newly created President’s Cabinet which will include my Executive Staff and the leaders of the campus shared governance groups. We are working to launch this search immediately and the campus will have an opportunity to participate in the process and engage with the candidates.

In the meantime, I have made the Office of Diversity and Inclusion an independent office, separate from the Office of Institutional Equity, and my chief of staff will provide oversight and strategic direction to the office while a successful candidate for the CDO position is identified. The Office of Institutional Equity will continue to report to me and will concentrate on supporting and advancing fair practices and the University’s commitment to create an environment free of discrimination and supportive of all.

In the last few weeks, we have taken a number of steps that we want you to know about and get your feedback on, a list is available here - Steps to Continuing Our Commitment to Inclusion.

Charles A. Wight