Neumann University Community,
In response to the national conversation on race, Neumann will now intensify its efforts to ensure that every part of campus life is welcoming, diverse and inclusive. In that vein, I am asking all members of the Neumann community to work together to support the following initiatives and to be prepared to assist the Diversity Council as they announce additional concrete action steps later this summer.
- The Diversity Council is working with me to create concrete action steps to combat racism and to ensure that our mission is being fully experienced by all members of the Neumann community. We will share these actions steps with you by August 14, 2020.
- The recently formed President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity will be meeting throughout the summer. This group of black alumni will serve as a team of advisors to the president, providing guidance and feedback on the action steps.
- In August we will launch a mandatory online Diversity & Inclusion training program designed to ensure that faculty and staff are creating and promoting inclusive behaviors on our campus.
- Mr. Blane Harding will be facilitating workshops with our faculty and staff to offer practical and meaningful ideas to build trust and reduce bias in and outside the classroom.
- We will conduct a series of listening sessions for students, faculty, and staff this fall to build community through dialogue.
- We plan to bring to campus experts who can speak on racial and social injustice and are representative of our diverse campus community.
- The Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies will offer book talks, discussion groups, and teas to explore topics of diversity, racism, injustice, and inclusion.
- The Welcome Back Day program in August for all faculty and staff will offer an opportunity to present the climate survey results, updates on these initiatives, and a report on the work of the Diversity Council.
Finally, our Catholic Franciscan tradition invites us to be peace makers and to live our RISES values with purpose and zeal. I invite you to take on these five challenges and incorporate them into your work, your conversations, and your prayers.
- We must guide our students through this period with a sense of reverence for one another.
- We must be examples of integrity as we engage in an honest examination of our own hearts and minds.
- We must never stop seeking ways to be in humble service to those who need us most.
- We must seek the truth by embracing excellence in all that we do.
- We must be conscious of all that God wants us to be, by stewarding our gifts and talents in response to His love for us.
Let me close with the words of St. Francis.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy.”
With peace and hope,
Dr. Chris Domes