Monday Moments with President Bergman: November 16, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on November 16th, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

In the description of our core value of justice, it says that “we strive to be a just community in all our actions.” In June, following George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, widespread protests, and an awakening of the national consciousness around issues of racism, the President’s Cabinet committed to a number of concrete actions that are intended to move Gustavus toward becoming a more just community. Since that time, I have been pleased to see the good progress on these commitments. One of those planned action steps was to dedicate a larger space for the Center for Inclusive Excellence. Last week, we announced that we will soon begin a complete renovation of the Dive. Once completed, this space will become the new home for the Center for Inclusive Excellence. I am excited about the opportunities this space will provide for creative programming, improved meeting spaces, and informal gathering areas for students, faculty, and staff.

Our work associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and, specifically, our plan for Racial Justice and Inclusion, is a journey of a thousand steps. The Dive renovation, like other individual actions, is both important and meaningful, and it is worthy of celebration, but it does not mean that the Gustavus community can relax or become complacent in our DEI work. We must continue to strive every day to be a just community. I have often used the analogy that DEI work is like pushing a large rock up a big hill. It takes strong and dedicated people to move the rock up the hill, and it takes considerable and continuous effort. Progress is made when everyone pushes. And, if the group gets tired and steps aside, the rock will roll back down the hill. So it is with DEI and racial justice work–we need strong and dedicated people (i.e., all of us), to create a just community where everyone feels like they belong. The effort is considerable and progress requires continuous effort.

If we believe in the destination, the journey will be well worth the effort. Along the way, we will learn a lot about ourselves and each other. We will respect the dignity of all members of our community. We will adhere to the principles of integrity, openness, and personal responsibility. We will grow and change. We will strive individually to practice equity and inclusion. We will strive together to be a just community in all our actions.

Until next week, Gusties, keep up the good work–and keep laying low.

With respect,

President Bergman


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