Monday Moments with President Bergman: February 21, 2022Guest author and Vice President for Equity & Inclusion Doug Thompson shares his thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff.
Posted on February 21st, 2022 by

This spring, members of the Gustavus Cabinet will write guest posts for Monday Moments. This week, I’m pleased to share thoughts from Doug Thompson, our Vice President for Equity & Inclusion. – Becky

Greetings, Gusties. As I begin this Monday Moments guest entry, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the devastation and tension that still exist in our state following the sentencing of Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright. Last Friday, Potter was sentenced to two years in prison. Just a day prior to the decision, people gathered to mourn the life of Amir Locke, another Black man who was killed by police executing a no-knock warrant in Minneapolis. These local stories and countless other national headlines are reminders that we need to do more to address inequities in society.

With so much division all around us, as President Bergman noted at the beginning of the year, we must find a way to have a positive outlook. I find this positive outlook in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work we are doing at Gustavus. The reason I get excited is because of the synergy I witness daily, where members of our community move beyond individual thinking toward a more centralized, community-focused approach. Through our DEI ecosystem, there are true collaborations and genuine cooperation guided by a shared vision.

This collaboration and cooperation is being demonstrated in many ways. We have DEI learning and engagement opportunities through various modalities such as workshops, luncheons, town halls, speaker series, and discussions. Our new Accessibility Committee is working to allow people of all abilities to thrive. There is an ongoing institutional policy review process in place. We are launching employee resource groups. We will soon distribute reports from our spring semester climate survey. The Bias Response Team continually serves as a resource in addressing concerns of our community. In addition, we are bolstering our First Forward Network to provide sustained and intentional support for our first-generation students. We are on the move!=

Regardless of how big or small, each of us can be a part of this move and do something to eradicate inequities. My suggestion is to get involved, be vulnerable, and have courage to show up and participate. You can take part in our learning opportunities or upcoming events, such as the Building Bridges Conference and the Womxn of Color Summit. I am inspired by the many interactions I have with members of our community. When Molly Yunkers (our Book Mark Manager) told me about her decision to carry inclusive skin tone bandages, that made me happy because it makes a difference. Assistant football coach Zach Vine and I met to discuss strategies to better serve student-athletes from various cultural backgrounds. I am impressed by how Professor Scott Bur develops culturally sustaining pedagogy in the world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). More recently, Vice President for Marketing & Communication Tim Kennedy shared a book about systemic racism and racist behavior that he and his division will read and discuss together. These are just a few examples of how members of our community are incorporating DEI into their daily work. We can all do something!

What are you doing to make an impact and remove inequities in our community? What is your department or division doing to positively impact DEI at Gustavus? The answer could be establishing an employee resource group, getting more involved in our international student experience, having me and/or my team facilitate a workshop for your department, simply wearing your name tag to be more welcoming, or finishing off the PCDEI Black History Month in Two Minutes initiative by watching the week three videos and completing a reflection form: The GI Bill of RightsThe Clotilda, and Reflection form.

Your answer speaks to the core of what belonging means to our future at Gustavus. Our future is not just a destination, but it is a decision. Above all, let us decide each day to do something positive to impact our community.

Peace and love,

Doug Thompson


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