Presidential Commission on Diversity Campus Announcement

Date: January 22, 2013
From: President's Office
Subject: Presidential Commission on Diversity

Dear Laurentians:

Among the priorities outlined in my remarks at Convocation in August was the important work of mapping our progress and future as a diverse and pluralistic community. I reported on this goal at the October meeting of the Board of Trustees. I believe the scope of this project requires a highly representative group to consider every aspect of the University's principles, policies and actions.

I am therefore pleased to announce the appointment of the Presidential Commission on Diversity. I have asked a group of trustees and students, members of the faculty, staff, alumni, and the community to examine these issues at St. Lawrence from multiple perspectives. Trustee Marion Roach Smith '77 has agreed to chair the commission. Please see the full membership list at the bottom of this note.

In recognition of "this timely and critically important endeavor," the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded St. Lawrence a grant of $50,000 to support the commission's work. I'm very thankful for this support and gratified to know that the foundation recognizes this need for critical examination.

The commission will serve for a year and prepare a report with its findings and recommendations to be submitted to my office by February 1, 2014. Its first meeting will be an organizing workshop, with a nationally acclaimed scholar and facilitator, in two weeks.

In the coming months, the commission will invite wide and inclusive participation within the campus community, paying particular attention to the academic program as a core theme of the project. In addition, the many dimensions of student life and alumni engagement will be fully considered.

The commission will be staffed by Macreena Doyle, who has been promoted to Director of Employee Recruitment, Training and Affirmative Action. Macreena's close involvement with the commission will serve her well as she transitions into her new and important role at the University.

To learn more about the commission's "Purpose and Plan," please visit http://www.stlawu.edu/president/diversity_commission.html

As this document points out, no large or controversial incident on the St. Lawrence campus has prompted this desire to explore and map the territory of diversity at a liberal arts university. We are mindful, nevertheless, that in the last decade on campuses across America there have been disturbing episodes ranging from ignorant insensitivity to blatant bigotry, the subtle to the criminal, which could potentially occur anywhere. Rather, St. Lawrence has that rare, prevenient opportunity to "get ahead" of itself and others in order to think hard, plan wisely, and make adjustments within that learning "experimental station" that is a campus democratic society.

Please join me in thanking the Laurentians below who have so graciously agreed to serve on the commission and commit valuable time to its mission. I look forward to learning and sharing more as the commission's work progresses.

Sincerely,
William L. Fox
President

Presidential Commission on Diversity

Trustees
Marion Roach Smith '77, chair
Sharee Freeman '76
Zhihong Huang '02
Barry Phelps '69
Tzveta Raynova '02
Elly Tatum '93
Jim Tyler

Faculty
Abye Assefa, Sociology
Mark Denaci, Fine Arts
Aswini Pai, Biology
Karl Schonberg, Government/CIIS
Melissane Schrems, History/Native American Studies
Mary Jane Smith, History
Eve Stoddard, Global Studies Administrative

Staff
Kathleen Buckley, Chaplain
Allison Busser, Academic Resources
Rance Davis '80, Associate Dean of Student Life
Musa Khalidi, Admissions
Brenda Papineau, Community-Based Learning

Coaches
Franco Bari '98
Jodi Canfield '91

Alumni
Lauren Bennett '11
Jon Wheeler '80

Students
Christina Gay '15
Maryam Laly '15
Natalie Onyango '15
Amy Yao '14

Senior Staff
Val Lehr, Vice President of the University and Dean of Academic Affairs
Joe Tolliver, Vice President and Dean of Student Life Staff Coordinator
Macreena Doyle, Human Resources Research Coordinator
Christine Zimmerman, Director of Institutional Research