Next Steps for an Equitable and Inclusive Workplace at Wooster

Dear Colleagues,

I write as we continue to reflect on the appalling murders of George Floyd and others through anti-Black violence, and on the larger systems of structural racism that create harm in so many ways. The College of Wooster absolutely has work to do in this regard, to become a place that is truly equitable and inclusive. We often think about these issues as they relate to student experience, but it is just as critical that staff and faculty have a welcoming and equitable workplace, free of the racism and discrimination which pervade our society. While we have enacted initiatives through our diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan  to improve our campus climate, including the faculty retention study and the actions that have followed from it, and trainings on creating inclusive workplaces in many academic and administrative departments, we still have a long way to go to create an excellent and inclusive workplace for everyone. We must act, with urgency, to get there. We will be bringing expert voices to bear to help us make concrete plans to move forward, as there are excellent resources being developed on anti-racist practices for colleges and universities. Everyone at the College will be part of the shared commitment to make Wooster better.

As a part of this work, I especially welcome the opportunity to hear directly from our Black faculty and staff about their experiences at Wooster and changes they would like to see. To that end, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Ivonne M. García and I invite Black faculty and staff to a virtual gathering on Wednesday, June 17, at 3pm. We will structure the time so that the first part of the gathering will be an opportunity for us to listen to Black staff and faculty. Later, if there is desire to have time without me present for further conversation, I’m happy to support that as well. I also understand that this is a time of profound exhaustion for many who have faced relentless anti-Black racism throughout their lives, and so some may choose not to participate.

Black faculty and staff who would like to participate in Wednesday’s gathering can click this link to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you would prefer to share thoughts in other ways- through individual conversations, in writing, or in any other approach, Ivonne and I welcome that as well, and are happy to schedule other conversations with us or with others.

My thanks to all of you for your extraordinary work, care and commitment for the College and for our students. I am deeply grateful, and look forward to our continued progress together.

All my best,
Sarah

Posted in President Writing.