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Status Update: Race and Inclusion Initiative – April 22, 2015

From:       President Paul Brown
To:           Members of the University Community
Date:        April 22, 2015
Subject:  Status Update: Race and Inclusion Initiative

Several months ago we began discussions about race and inclusion at Monmouth in tandem with an assessment of the role of Woodrow Wilson as a historic figure on our campus. Our ongoing dialogue has included academic discussions, listening sessions, individual meetings, and an online survey to invite a broad range of participation and perspectives from all members of our community.

I encourage you to visit the dedicated Race and Inclusion Initiative page on the Monmouth University portal for additional information stemming from our discussions, resources for further education on the topic, and to continue our dialogue in the online discussion forum.

While the name of Wilson Hall remains under study and consideration by the Board of Trustees, I want to provide you with an update on the results of our outreach on race and inclusion as we near the end of the academic year.

Two simple questions were at the heart of our efforts: “Is our campus an inclusive and comfortable place for everyone?” and, its logical corollary, “How can we become a more inclusive community?”

As expected, we heard a range of responses and experiences. And, while most who participated said they are comfortable here on campus, some have said they are not. I appreciate the courage of all who shared their perspectives, and especially the honest and heartfelt responses that were difficult or emotionally painful.

I am committed to driving efforts that will foster a culture where everyone feels welcome and supported. Three clear areas of opportunity emerged from our conversations that will help us implement action items for this initiative, even as we understand that these efforts will need to be ongoing.

First, ensure a comprehensive, holistic diversity and inclusion agenda across the university.

Second, create a more inclusive campus experience. We can continue to improve education and training, programming, and curriculum integration to further a more welcoming culture that values and celebrates our differences.

Third, recruit and retain a more diverse workforce and student body. We need to look deeper at how we recruit, hire, onboard, support, promote and retain diverse talent to improve in these areas.

Implementation of actions supporting these broad goals will require active leadership across all areas of Monmouth University. Shifting the perspective of our organizational culture, however, will not be accomplished with quick fixes, or succeed if it is driven solely by senior administrators.

As we move forward together, we will depend upon the efforts of every member of our campus, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators, working through established campus groups, and new ones, to advance diversity and inclusion at Monmouth University.

While we have made great strides over the years, there is much more we can do.

I will continue to keep you updated as we share our findings, and define the short and long-term action items in our more comprehensive agenda.

Thank you for your support.
President Paul R. Brown, Ph.D.