I am sure that many of you are aware of and deeply concerned about the recent stream of abhorrent racist and anti-Semitic behavior that has occurred on and near Syracuse University. Whoever has perpetrated these acts, whatever their motivation, neither they nor their behavior have any place on our beautiful campus.
I believe those responsible will be found and held accountable. I am also confident that the University’s leadership and stakeholders—students, staff, faculty, board members, and alumni—will come together to address the current situation and dismantle the underlying long-term issues.
Whitman is in its 100th anniversary year; Syracuse University in its 150th. They are not perfect, but we are proud of them. We have seen dark times before, and thanks to the engagement and activism of our students, in concert with the dedication and innovative spirit of our faculty and staff, we have come through each such period even stronger as a community.
We are committed to fostering a culture of belonging at Whitman. Our 2017 strategic plan includes many steps to create a place of inclusion for all. Several of those steps have already been taken, including:
- Hiring an Executive Director of Institutional Culture, Diane Crawford;
- Awarding grants for teaching and research on inclusion and diversity topics;
- Conducting workshops on inclusion and diversity issues for faculty and staff;
- Implementing new faculty hiring guidelines to ensure searches produce as diverse a pool of candidates as possible;
- Partnering with pipeline organizations to strengthen diversity and inclusion in our graduate programs;
- Working closely with the central university’s undergraduate admissions team to enhance diversity of our incoming cohort.
We have much more important work to do. All of us at the school and university know that we must ensure an inclusive learning environment for all of our students. We also need to re-earn the trust of both prospective students and alumni. I welcome your input on how we can best maintain our Orange pride and continue to build a more perfect Whitman.