This Book Has No End

Sharon Stahl, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Students

The commitment to building a just, diverse and inclusive community is a work in progress, not just now, and not just in our own community, as the issues of Ferguson so well illustrate, but also in the “fergusons” across this country and around the world. This effort requires resolve and vigilance. A just and equitable society, a place “where our children will not be judged by the color of their skins, but by the content of their character,” as Dr. King so eloquently admonished us, remains a goal.  We owe concentrated efforts to that goal and to many others since a just society values diversity and inclusion beyond race and gender.

The conclusion of the Mosaic Project will be announced in the Record this week.  This turning of the page in our efforts toward greater inclusion and diversity in our community provides us the opportunity to measure our progress.  We can point to the establishment of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, already referred to as the CDI by students, and the leadership of LaTanya Buck as its first director; we can acknowledge the establishment of the Bias Report and Support System, the BRSS, that now provides a resource for members of our community who experience bias and marginalization; and we can share that this year the Office of the Provost is focusing efforts on giving faculty support to facilitate inclusive classrooms, which began with a pilot for new faculty. The BRSS, the Center, and this new faculty initiative illustrate the positive outcomes that result when a community, all of us, students, faculty and staff, commit to being better and doing better.

But we must remember, this book has no end. We should be proud of these accomplishments, and the unyielding commitment of the many who participated in this work, but we must understand as we turn this particular page, we are not nearing the conclusion.

I want to thank everyone who served on the working groups for the Mosaic Project, who participated in focus groups, and those who supported the efforts of the students, faculty and staff who embraced this effort with diligence, enthusiasm, and unyielding commitment.  We are a better community because of your work. We also know that we are not finished; we have much to do here, now and in the future, and in places both near and far.