As we look forward to a safe and productive semester, I want to stop momentarily and recognize that this past summer was an especially difficult one. In a short period, we witnessed violence, anger and increasing levels of distrust that threaten civility and mutual respect. Sadly, this was the case around the globe, with deadly terrorist attacks in France, Somalia, Iraq, Germany and so many other countries.
The physical safety and emotional well-being of every single member of the UNI community is a concern for me. I empathize with those who find themselves grappling with the recent tragedies. I too am sometimes overwhelmed by it all.
In solidarity, I offer you one simple message: We Stand By You. A project inspired by junior Jamal White, #WeStandByYou, is our way of saying that when you need to talk, to process information, to have someone listen, to have someone by your side, the members of this campus will be there for you.
This is a campus of individuals who support one another. We must find ways to come together to embrace diversity and elevate mutual respect and inclusion as key values of our campus community.
To begin that way-making, we have planned a number of initiatives. Throughout this academic year, UNI will present a series of Listening Tables and CSBS colloquiums covering topics such as race in the classroom, race and the political system, and diversity course requirements. There also will be initiatives designed to bring together the campus and the Cedar Valley to combat distrust between marginalized populations and specific power structures.
You will hear about all of this and more as the semester moves forward.
If you have ideas or thoughts about diversity and inclusion, please be in touch with Gwenne Berry, Chief Diversity Officer, at 273-2820. She's always willing to listen, discuss and engage.
My best for an amazing fall 2016.
Awe & Wonder,