As promised in my January message Working Together for Inclusion and Tolerance, IUP is taking several action steps in response to issues related to racism, aligned with the work and mission of the university—teaching and learning.

On April 26, we will host the IUP Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, a universitywide symposium, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Symposium events are free and open to the community.

Peggy McIntosh, Keynote Speaker at IUP Diversity and Inclusion SummitIUP is pleased to welcome Peggy McIntosh as the symposium's keynote speaker. Her presentation is titled “Coming to See Privilege Systems: The Surprising Journey.”

In her address, she will describe how she came to see her unearned privilege, which is at the other end of unearned disadvantage. Dr. McIntosh will describe some effects of privilege systems on curriculum, teaching methods, social climates, and university policies, and she will discuss some of the benefits of using power to share power.

Additional programming for the day will be announced as events are finalized.

As noted in the action steps of my January message, an ad hoc policy review committee has been formed.

John Lowery, chairperson of the Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education, has agreed to chair this group, which will review relevant IUP policies, processes, and practices in light of national and state laws and best practices.

I have charged the group with suggesting changes that will reinforce and encourage civil dialogue, treating others with mutual respect, preserving the dignity of each member of the university community, and, when legally and otherwise appropriate, sanctioning individuals and organizations in violation of the university's code of conduct or other policies. The committee will also consider nonpolicy initiatives to encourage and facilitate civil dialogue.

Committee members include the following:

  • Mike Lemasters, associate vice president for Student Affairs for Living-Learning and Well-Being
  • Crystal Machado, associate professor, Professional Studies in Education
  • Valerie Mercado, compliance officer/Title IX coordinator, Office of Social Equity
  • John Mueller, professor, Student Affairs in Higher Education
  • David Myers, associate professor and chairperson, Counseling Center
  • Amber Racchini, peer assistance coordinator/educational advisor, Developmental Studies
  • Betsy Sarneso, assistant director for Student Life/Greek Life and Student Engagement
  • Malaika Turner, assistant director of Residential Living
  • A representative from both the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Assembly

This semester, the committee will review a broad list of documents and policies and provide me with suggestions for changes. I will consider the committee's recommendations and forward them, as appropriate, for review and possible adoption in associated university governance processes.

This is a herculean task, and I appreciate all who have agreed to take on this important work. I also want to thank members of the university community in advance for their cooperation in helping this group to move forward and meet its mission.

I look forward to seeing you at the April 26 symposium.