Phi Beta Cons

Can You Top This?

Colleges across America have recently seen an astounding display of groveling. Presidents who just can’t bear the thought that some students are less than completely happy with the way they are running things have abased themselves with all sorts of offerings to them.

I copy here an email message sent by the president of one small Pennsylvania college.

Dear Elizabethtown College Community:

 The incidents of discrimination and tension that have occurred on college

 campuses nationwide are reminders to us of the progress yet to be made in our

 society. The threat of violence that was scrawled in one of our classrooms

 just a few weeks ago is evidence of this. Elizabethtown College is a community

 that welcomes everyone but will not tolerate violence, threats of violence,

 hatred, bigotry, or discrimination that demeans others or seeks to divide our

 community. It is incumbent on all of us to listen to each other carefully, to

 open ourselves to others’ perspectives and to remember that we are all part a

 community working to make our College a place where everyone feels valued,

 accepted, and above all, safe.

 I, along with some members of our Senior Staff and faculty, was pleased to

 have the opportunity last evening to meet with student leaders representing

 Noir-Student Diversity Union, Allies, Queer Student Union, and Student Senate.

 We came together to discuss a variety of agenda items brought forward by the

 students including:

 € Exploring the possibility of a diversity and inclusivity house

 € Considering hiring a diverse representative in Counseling Services

 € Offering new curricular and co-curricular programs

 € Expanding faculty and staff development in diversity and inclusion

 € Expanding Gender Inclusive Housing options

 € Hiring a Director of Diversity and/or Coordinator of LGBTQ programming

We have also seen solid progress on efforts to make our campus more inclusive.

 Brandon Jackson is re-convening the Campus Diversity Advocates Group, Dr.

 Richard Newton coordinated the Six Word Story Project (his students will

 present their assessments of the project during finals week), Resident

 Assistants will be receiving additional bias incidents response training, and

 roundtable groups composed of students, faculty, and staff have been created

 to discuss LGBTQ+ and ALANA student needs.

 On November 19 from 7:30pm – 8:30p.m. in Hoover 212, please join the Office of

 Multicultural Programs for an open-campus discussion on the bias-related

 incidents that have occurred on college campuses across the country and share

 your thoughts on the effects of discrimination. Continuing an open dialog is

the first step to effecting change.

 As we address these challenges here at home, events continue to unfold in our

 global fight on terrorism. I encourage us all to stand together, regardless of

 race, class, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. Here, at

 Elizabethtown, the values of peace and social justice that make our community

 special can also fuel important conversations in these troubled times. I look

 forward to continuing the conversations.

 Peace,

 Carl J. Strikwerda

 President

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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