Our Continued Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Posted on 2/8/2021 9:44:16 AM

Colleagues,

As we continue through Black History Month, I want to share some thoughts and some updates about our ongoing work related to diversity and inclusion.

I stand by the statement that I have shared with you in the past: there is no place for hate here, and there is no more important task than creating a place where all are welcome to learn, work, and live—without fear of racial violence or any other form of oppression.

Racism can be a very uncomfortable topic; maybe that’s as it should be. IUP’s mission and values include helping all of us—our students and our entire IUP family—to face challenging issues head on, with constructive and respectful dialogue. Learning how to be anti-racist will continue to be at the forefront of who we are, and aspire to be, as a university community.

Our Office of Social Equity continues to do an excellent job of addressing concerns and complaints and sharing how individuals can report incidents, as well as developing and promoting thoughtful programming related to diversity and inclusion on our campus. I encourage you to carefully review the Social Equity Digest that comes to you each Monday and to participate in the events listed in this message as your schedule permits. Maybe go a bit outside your comfort zone and participate in something that you’d normally pass by.

There are many very dedicated commissions and councils also involved in this important work, and I thank them for their perseverance and innovative thinking. But this is too critical and too big of an issue for any one office or individual to address. It is up to all of us, and I am calling on every member of the IUP community to be part of this work.

We have made progress. A new webpage offers information about our past and our ongoing work. This site will continue to grow as we move forward on this initiative. 

Our Diversity Calendar compiles many of the upcoming events related to this topic. I hope that you can join me tonight for the first in our spring Six O’clock Series events: Five Dangerous Myths about Black People in America, presented by IUP instructor and doctoral student Jeremy McCool. Again, please take note of upcoming events in the Social Equity Digest and on the IUP calendar.

As an engineer, I’m trained to solve hard problems. I don’t have the answers, but I know that to solve a problem we must admit that it is there and then apply all our creativity and energy to finding solutions. And I know that hating or mistreating people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion—or because they are different—is hurtful and just plain wrong. This university’s commitment to addressing this issue head-on is real. Learning anti-racism will continue to be an active part of the IUP curriculum, and we will continue to hear and respond to reports of concerns.

I believe with all my heart that together, we can—and will—make a difference.

Michael A. Driscoll
President