November 12, 2015
To the OSU community,
Across the nation, essential discussions, debate and even protests are being held regarding whether America’s colleges and universities are sufficiently inclusive and racially aware; are doing enough to address educational inequities and social injustice; and are appropriately addressing the needs of all those who attend or work at these institutions.
Oregon State University is committed to be part of these critically important conversations, and to be a leader and partner in meaningful and priority actions that expand inclusivity and safety throughout OSU.
Yesterday, I was contacted by several Oregon State University students, who expressed their heartfelt concerns about the university’s actions to fully foster improved inclusivity. They also shared their observations that appropriate civility and inclusivity for all at Oregon State is lacking. These students requested that I attend a meeting with other university leaders, faculty and students to discuss these essential matters. In response, I have cancelled my participation as a board member in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Sunday through Tuesday in Indianapolis to be available for this meeting to be held at 7 p.m. in Gill Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 16.
Oregon State is committed to be a fully inclusive, caring and safe community. And we are committed to further our efforts as a university and as a campus community in meaningful, transparent and on-going ways.
I have asked for university administrators and academic leaders to join me at Monday’s meeting at which time we look forward to listening and learning from our students. I also urge that other OSU faculty, staff and students participate in this important meeting.
Hopefully, we can consider some institutional changes and address staffing needs to help us address student concerns, and I will be interested in sharing ideas with those in attendance Monday night.
I look forward to listening and learning from our students’ experiences, and each of you, so that we can achieve the most success through our efforts.
I pledge to work with all members of our community -- and most particularly students, faculty and staff of color and others, who may feel marginalized -- to expand and improve our efforts. In demonstrating our commitment to addressing these issues at Oregon State University, together we will transform Monday’s essential dialogue into a learning opportunity that will raise awareness and propel action throughout our campus.
Engagement and action in such efforts is a top priority of this university and I expect the university to identify specific actions to be taken going forward following this frank conversation.