Monday Moments with President Bergman: January 11, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on January 11th, 2021 by

We are at the midpoint of the academic year, which means it is a good time to take stock of the progress we have made in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and look forward to where we are going for the rest of the year. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police last May raised the national consciousness about racial injustice, prompting the College to actively focus even more on our DEI efforts on racial justice and inclusion. The Gustavus Board of Trustees affirmed its support for racial justice and inclusion through a resolution passed on October 8, 2020. Shortly thereafter, the President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion launched a three-year Racial Justice and Inclusion plan that includes a new vision statement for our work:

Gustavus will be a just community where all of us feel a sense of belonging and benefit from an exceptional education.  

Achieving a more equitable and inclusive community at Gustavus is a journey, not an event. While it is important to acknowledge this, it is also important to look for milestones along that journey that indicate progress. Here are a few key accomplishments over the last five months:

  • Two new counselors were hired in the Counseling Center to increase support for BIPOC students.

    President Rebecca M. Bergman

  • 19 Listening Sessions were held with various campus constituencies to better understand the gaps that exist in the current Gustavus culture with respect to equity and inclusion.
  • The Dive is in the process of being remodeled (to be completed in February) and will serve as the new home for the Center for Inclusive Excellence.
  • The Linnaeus Deliberation Circle held its first meeting last week to begin a deliberative process, as requested by the Gustavus Board of Trustees, to consider how to address questions that have been raised regarding the name of the arboretum.

Looking forward, here are the next major steps in our Racial Justice and Inclusion journey:

  • Next Monday, we will celebrate The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a virtual event focused on racial equity and anti-racism, led by an experienced team of educators from Team Dynamics.
  • Following MLK Day, PCDEI is rolling out Racial Justice and Inclusion education opportunities for all students, faculty, and staff.
  • Along with the Cabinet and the PCDEI leadership team, I will be developing plans in the next 2-3 months for hiring a Cabinet-level position focused on DEI. More details will be communicated as we move forward in developing this important role.

These are all steps that begin to move us toward our vision of being a just community–a place where each person feels accepted, included, and can bring their authentic self to their work and studies each day. In other words, each member of our community feels a sense of belonging. I ask you to continue to actively engage in our collective DEI work as we move through the remainder of the academic year.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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