Ensuring a Welcoming and Inclusive Environment at Drexel University
December 11, 2019
Dear Members of the Drexel Community:
Drexel is committed to fostering an inclusive and healthy educational and work environment based on trust and respect, and therefore the University prohibits harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and bias incidents in any form. The recent incidents of hate at Syracuse University, where over a dozen reported racist and anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the month of November, are a reminder that we must be proactive in our efforts to uphold diversity and inclusion. College campuses should be a place of free speech and robust dialogue, where differing voices and opinions can be shared in a safe and educational environment.
With this in mind, Drexel University is assessing and strengthening centralized frameworks for all civil rights-, diversity- and inclusion-related centers, departments, offices, positions, roles and responsibilities, so that we can maximize resources to provide the most transparent, comprehensive and coordinated support for our diverse University community. As part of this effort, the University has appointed Associate Vice President for Human Resources (HR) Kim Gholston as Drexel’s Chief Diversity Officer in a role that will be separate from her continued senior leadership position within HR. As Chief Diversity Officer, Kim will manage a progressive diversity agenda informed by campus stakeholders to shape and lead Drexel’s integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and practices to ensure excellence in education, research, and civic engagement.
Kim will also lead the search for the Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and once this position is recruited, together they will manage the process necessary to improve diversity and inclusion results, operationalize the link between diversity and organizational excellence, and grow and sustain inclusion efforts across the University. We will undertake all these efforts with thoughtful and inclusive engagement of Drexel’s faculty, professional staff, students, and other key stakeholders.
In addition to these developments, Drexel continues to review and respond to reports of specific incidents of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and bias through the University’s Office of Equality and Diversity (OED). OED has primary responsibility for administering Drexel’s three main civil rights policies that define the specific procedures for centralized reporting and resolution of covered incidents:
We have undertaken significant efforts to ensure that our reporting and resolution processes adequately respect and protect the rights of all community members, including students, faculty, professional staff and campus guests. Reports or questions regarding individual incidents or related policies can be directed to OED by calling 215.895.1405 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Our shared goal is to maximize the voice of everyone in the Drexel community to support diversity and a culture of inclusion, and to increase the ability of all students to achieve success in and out of the classroom. We are committed to ensuring that Drexel University is a campus environment where all people feel welcome and safe to be themselves. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the University community as we improve our efforts to live up to this commitment.