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Message from the President

Ending Racism Can’t Wait

President Michael Driscoll

In the address I delivered during my inauguration at IUP and in at least one commentary in IUP Magazine, I’ve referred to our shared human experience—our ability as a species to live and work together for the greater good of society.

Our nation’s communities—including colleges and universities—are experiencing incidents of intolerance and hatred in the form of racism. IUP is not an exception; in my tenure as IUP’s president, I have noted a number of very public and very dramatic incidents as well as an undercurrent that is difficult to pinpoint. My predecessors can say the same.

Racism in America is not dead. However, how we prepare our students to thrive in increasingly diverse work settings and communities will make a difference.

This edition carries a story on campus racial tension. Editor Elaine Jacobs Smith has interviewed a cross-section of people in an effort to expose and define the problem and to address how we are trying to solve it. It’s fair to say that her examination of our local state of affairs is applicable to what my colleagues are experiencing across the country.

Last summer, our university began a study to measure inclusion and diversity. In fact, IUP is more diverse, statistically, than it ever has been; yet, we continue to see acts of discrimination. That certainly is not what we aspire to be. Tolerance is not enough; the university community must develop a deeper understanding of each and every person who is a member.

We opened a new academic building this year. We are bringing up to date an infrastructure that has long needed attention. We are creating new programs that will prepare students to make a better world. The university’s cultural climate—its inclusiveness and civility—is another of the many things we’re fixing.

Discrimination and racism come with a cost. Our counterparts in the corporate world recognize this fact. As the Society for Human Resource Management notes, diversity initiatives can improve the quality of an organization’s workforce and be the catalyst for better return on investment.

In a society that by 2050 will be split almost evenly between majority and diverse populations, preparing students for their future is imperative. If we expect today’s students to go forth and lead as they graduate, then we must provide them examples, and we must correct injustices at IUP right now.

Michael A. Driscoll

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Race: The Next Step

Race: The Next Step

A racist photo that went viral on social media has brought an age-old problem—at IUP and across the nation—to the forefront of campus business.

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

“Aunt Jane”: IUP’s George Washington

Considered Indiana Normal School’s guiding spirit, Jane Leonard inspired thousands of students and, perhaps, a U.S. president.

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