Friday, May 9, 2014

Starting an important conversation

Events of the past few days have provided me with wider and deeper perspectives into the considerable challenges we face as a university, a community and a country. 

As is often the case at UW-Eau Claire, students have demonstrated their courage and leadership to help our campus undertake difficult discussions about racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.

Through their actions, including a sizable protest march, public forum and well-attended Chancellor’s Roundtable, our students have prompted us to look in the mirror and admit we have a problem:  When it comes to our strategic value of equity, diversity and inclusiveness, we have a long way to go.

I am proud to say that our students have paved the way for us to explore new ways to improve our campus climate.  I was impressed by the determination of students who I marched with Wednesday, inspired by their conviction to effect change and illuminated by their insights into a complex issue that is not easily defined or resolved.

We have taken some important first steps on this journey, and I will be working with our students, faculty, staff and others to ensure we not only continue the important conversations begun this week but that we pursue concrete steps that will enable us to make progress toward achieving our goal of making UW-Eau Claire a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus for all.