Student Engagement and Success

“I can’t breathe.”

Three words uttered by an unarmed Black man as he pleaded with police to spare his life. The murder of George Floyd on a street in Minneapolis was yet one more example of the disregard of the lives of people of color in America. Racism is systemic and institutionalized in ways that deprive people of dignity and opportunity, and serve to sustain privileges for White people. Explicit and implicit racism permeates our society’s institutions, policies, and culture, and cannot be rooted-out without honest dialogue and a sustained commitment to this difficult work.

Ohio Wesleyan University is also a place where hard work must be done to eradicate the effects of systemic racism and to more aggressively pursue an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community for all. The Division of Student Engagement and Success has a substantial role in leading this work on our campus, and while we have provided many such programs and services in the past, it is clearly not enough. We are renewing our commitment to do everything we can to fight racial injustice; to educate ourselves and our community about equity, diversity, and inclusion matters; and to support a campus environment that honors the worth that every individual brings to our campus. We join our voices with countless others to proclaim that Black Lives Matter!

Within the Division of Student Engagement and Success, we will be taking a hard look at our Public Safety and Student Conduct operations to identify where there are opportunities to address bias or unequal treatment of students. We will significantly expand training efforts for staff and students on a range of diversity topics, including some publications to help our staff decenter Whiteness within our efforts. We will launch our Campus Climate Report Process this fall to provide individuals with a clear pathway to notify the University of bias-related incidents when they occur so that proper action can be taken. These are but a few of the action steps the division will be taking this fall to help lead our campus to become a more racially just institution and to expand support for students related to diversity matters. As a division, we must do better when it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we will challenge all students to do the same.

Student Engagement and Success Division

June 15, 2020