Dear W students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends,
This week new legislation was signed into law that raises questions about fair treatment, as well as diversity and inclusion in Mississippi. Let me be clear that The W’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion continues unchanged.
As a public university, The W is responsible for educating all Mississippians, and to be successful in this mission we must be welcoming to all, while at the same time, respectful of diversity of opinions.
Our university is a place where critical thinking is nurtured, differences of opinion and belief are explored and celebrated, and the very best of who we are as a people is passed from one generation of students to the next.
We are—and we will remain—unwaveringly committed to embracing the diversity of thought, cultural background, experience, and identity to foster an inclusive and intellectually enriched university community.
The W is strengthened by both our remarkable diversity and the accompanying civility that are reflected in the university’s wonderful spirit of inclusion and acceptance and respect.
In my first university-wide convocation in January, 2012 and every one since, I have talked about the importance of continuing our efforts toward a safe, ethical university community. I specifically addressed diversity and inclusion in my 2014 and 2015 Founder’s Day letters.
Diversity and inclusion are university-wide commitments and values, and are clearly stated in our just-adopted University Priorities for 2015-2020. More than 250 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends participated in the development of the plan.
While I am proud of the good work and the commitment of our university community, I am well aware that there is much work ahead of us. I ask each of you to recommit yourself to The W’s efforts and join with us as we fully embrace that “we study for light to bless with light.”
April 7, 2016