Dear Laurentian Community,
In a message we wrote to the Laurentian community last June, we called on everyone to stand in solidarity with Laurentians of color and understand their pain, recognize personal privilege, and turn that privilege into action in order to help foster an anti-racist environment on our campus and in our communities across the country and around the world.
Over the past several months, we have revisited the list of future action steps we compiled and shared with our community last summer. Among the future action steps already in progress at that time was the development of the University’s Strategic Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion. Today, we are pleased to share an update on that plan with you.
The St. Lawrence community has long strived to become an institution that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive; a community in which all members can flourish. As affirmed in the University’s Diversity Statement:
We believe that students, faculty and staff from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, identities and heritages, when working together, are more likely to produce the leaders our society needs.
As with most academic institutions, however, St. Lawrence is not yet the institution we hope to become, and we still have much work to do. In order for true inclusion to be realized, the path forward needs to be mapped with intentionality. For this reason, using the information gleaned from the 2018 Campus Climate Survey, the 2019-2020 focus groups, and feedback obtained from students, faculty, staff, and alumni during open forums conducted in 2019 and 2020, the University’s Diversity Committee, a 24-person committee that includes faculty, staff, and students, has developed this Strategic Action Plan for Diversity & Inclusion.
The Strategic Action Plan for Diversity & Inclusion is organized around five themes:
- Cultivate an inclusive community, university-wide
- Expand the diversity of our community with bold recruitment efforts
- Foster a campus culture of inclusion by improving retention
- Infuse diversity and inclusion throughout the curricular and co-curricular programs
- Connect community members across different social identities
For each theme, three levels of actions and interventions are proposed:
- Short-term: Actions that can likely be undertaken within the next 1 to 1.5 years
- Intermediate-term: Actions that can likely be undertaken within the next 2-3 years
- Long-term: Actions that can be undertaken within the next 4-5 years
The Strategic Action Plan for Diversity & Inclusion is a living document. As we implement actions and interventions, receive community feedback, and assess results, the actions proposed now may change, with modifications to timelines or even new actions proposed. Feedback from community members will be solicited via open forums and surveys. Our ultimate goal is to press forward, one step at a time, and build upon our successes while addressing the challenges we encounter. We are committed to remaining open and optimistic as community members share their experiences and present ideas for solutions.
The University Diversity Committee will host virtual open forums for students, faculty, and staff to share details of The Strategic Action Plan for Diversity & Inclusion on the following dates:
- Tuesday, Feb. 9: 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom
- Wednesday, Feb. 10: 12-1 p.m. on Zoom
Details for an alumni open forum are forthcoming.
There is more work to be done and we are devoted to doing it. We welcome your thoughts at any time.
Bill Fox Kimberly Flint-Hamilton
President Associate Dean, Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity Committee Members
Alvin Henry, Assistant Professor of English
Ashlee Downing-Duke, Associate Director of Student Activities & Leadership
Barlin Osman ’22, Student
Bob Durocher, Senior Associate Vice President for Athletics
Christine Zimmerman, Director of Institutional Research
Deborah Dudley, Communications Senior Writer and Editor
Elaine White, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Life
Hagi Bradley, Vice President and Dean of Student Life
Jessica Sierk, Assistant Professor of Education
John Robert O’Connor, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Activities & Leadership
Karl Schonberg, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs
Kenyeri Xelhua ’21, Thelomathesian Society Diversity & Inclusion Chair
Mark Denaci, Associate Professor of Art History
Mary Jane Smith, Associate Professor of History
Molly Thompson ’22, Thelomathesian Society President
Morolake Odetoyinbo M’15, Counselor
Nadirah Croft ’21, Student
Nicole Perrin ’21, Student
Rance Davis ’80, Associate Dean of Student Life
Sharon Rodriguez, Residential Coordinator
Shaun Whitehead, University Chaplain
Tsewang Lama ’10, M’15, Coordinator of International Student Services
Victoria Lederer M’14, Associate Director of Laurentian Engagement