Program to combat racism and racial harassment and to enhance cultural diversity: Update

May 2000
To the University Community:

One of the clear and important goals of St. Cloud State University is to achieve diversity and social justice. This vision is part of our mission and is a major theme in our strategic planning. It has been widely discussed by all of us, and specifically by the Strategic Planning Committee. It is our most challenging theme, and it is one to which I am deeply committed. As a university, we have addressed our desire to successfully foster a truly tolerant, harassment-free, multicultural community, and we will continue our efforts to unite to nurture a more supportive environment.

In recent years, plans of action have been developed by the Strategic Planning Committee, the Student Government, and the Office of the President, all working in partnership with a variety of individuals and organizations on campus. Those plans have resulted in improvement in the recruitment of faculty and staff of color and other tangible signs of progress. The university has prepared a review of specific instances of progress based on these three plans. That review is attached to this memorandum. The document reviews advances made in five general areas, culled from the three plans for direction and progress:

There is no doubt that this university has made substantial progress in achieving diversity and social justice. There is, too, little doubt but that we have a long way to go. The point of this report is to thank the many of you who have contributed to our success, to celebrate the progress we have made, and to recommit myself and this office to continuing progress toward our mutual goals.

Progress Toward Achieving Diversity and Social Justice
at St. Cloud State University 1998-2000

Increasing the Diversity of the University Community:

Diversity will be achieved in part by including on our campus a population of faculty, staff and students that is more representative of the populations of the nation and the increasingly heterogeneous population of the state and region. In great part diversity means heterogeneity, and social justice cannot be achieved without a community of persons to define and advocate for social justice and provide support to victims when intolerance occurs. The university will interpret diversity to include persons of international origins, but it will not retreat from a commitment to increase the numbers of domestic minorities. Since 1998 the university has achieved substantive success in increasing diversity. Evidence of this progress includes:

Increasing Awareness and Sensitivity in the University Community:

In order to achieve a community where cultural differences are celebrated, and intolerance eliminated, the university and its citizens must establish a means through which diversity and social justice is defined, promoted, and where acts of intolerance are established as unacceptable. The university has made significant effort to achieve these ends.

Celebrating the Multicultural Fabric of the University Community:

Achieving diversity is only the first step. Truly celebrating our multicultural heritage also requires that we create events and activities designed to further our recognition of diversity and to celebrate our multiculturalism. Several efforts to that end have been made in the past two years.

Supporting Social Justice and Eliminating Intolerance:

Unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of campus citizens, intolerant acts do and will occur. In a just society, it is important that when such occurrences are identified, they be treated fairly, with due process, and that penalties and sanctions be meted out where appropriate. The university is committed to this course of action and to publicizing these events and their outcomes.

Reaffirming the University's Commitment in the Region and State:

As a large and influential organization in the region, and as a value leader, the university has a responsibility to promote diversity and social justice in central Minnesota and across the state. The university is committed to that role and has had several successes in recent years to that end.

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