Fostering Understanding, Respect, and Opportunity for a Better University
July 13, 2016
Dear Member of the Drexel Community,
Recent events in Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, and elsewhere have been disheartening and continue to highlight longstanding concerns about the social climate in which our students, faculty, professional staff, and community members are asked to learn, work, and live.
During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, we had a campus dialogue about, among other issues, Drexel's fundamental responsibility as a university to take on difficult questions, to encourage our diverse community to speak openly and compassionately, and to facilitate a constructive conversation about policing, law, racism, and equality.
Drexel has remained engaged in social issues through such institutions as the Forum for Inclusive Culture, a multitude of active student groups, affinity groups for faculty and professional staff, and dedicated work on inclusion in the different colleges and with stakeholders including Student Life and Faculty Affairs. Just last month these groups came together in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting to hold an on-campus vigil and a well-attended and productive open forum, illustrating how strong we can be when we work together. Drexel has also been a leader in civic engagement, from partnerships with public schools to job training for residents; from the expansion of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement to the founding of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. But, there is still much work to do and Drexel has an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate true leadership during these difficult times.
Over the next month, campus leaders will come together to clarify and provide greater transparency about our multi-year plan to enhance our own relations on campus while providing a model for relations in our shared community. For members of our community on campus this summer, plans are underway to hold an event to acknowledge and gain a deeper appreciation of the issues prominently reasserted by the recent events. And, during Welcome Week, campus leaders and student life stakeholders will engage in conversation with incoming students to address any concerns or anxiety they may be experiencing, including educating them about campus resources such as the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture, the LGBTQA Student Center, and the Office of Equality and Diversity.
Drexel is committed to fostering a community grounded in ideological tension, dialogue, and a respect for diversity – a community that can engage with curiosity and humility, honoring and celebrating our fundamental differences and similarities. In the coming weeks we will reach out to you with information around ongoing and new initiatives to together strengthen our own competencies to live and work in a diverse and global environment.
John A. Fry
M. Brian Blake
Executive Vice President and Provost
Vice President/Dean of Student Life
Chair, Faculty Senate