Published: Nov. 13, 2015

I wish to add my voice to those supporting CU-Boulder students who are engaging in online and direct discussions, and preparing to engage in free speech activities in support of their fellow students at the University of Missouri.

I support our students working for similar change here. I support them making their voices heard, and I ask them to ensure that other voices are also able to be heard alongside theirs in this vitally important conversation. As our campus and the national conversation continue, I want our community to know a few basic things.

First, I know that we have a lot of work to do in improving our climate and culture on campus with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence. I harbor no illusions that CU-Boulder is free from racism or racist acts, and I know that we have a long road to travel to arrive at a campus culture of inclusive excellence in which the contributions of each and all are equally valued.

We have recently begun that journey with a strategic planning effort for diversity and inclusive excellence. It’s my hope that this effort will differ from past efforts by virtue of its impact on our entire campus community. The planning process has strong buy-in from our faculty and administrative leadership at all levels: senior administrators, deans, department chairs and directors – and that layering of support promises great things for student and faculty recruitment and creating academic support networks for faculty and students of color.

Other efforts include:

  • We will soon release the Student Social Climate survey that was conducted last year. The survey’s release has been delayed due to the volume of surveys our campus research staff have been charged with managing, but we will make immediate progress on sharing the survey’s responses with the campus, and will also develop plans to act upon these responses in partnership with communities on campus;
  • Discussions, facilitated by the Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CCORE), are being set up on the issues related to the University of Missouri as they relate to CU-Boulder;
  • The Chancellor’s Post-doctoral Fellowship program continues to aid us in diversifying our faculty. Part of a national consortium with the University of California system, we receive nearly 100 applications for three fellowships annually;
  • Expansion of the Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program, with the goal of serving a larger community of underrepresented Arts & Sciences students with effective academic, social and scholarship support;
  • CU Cafe is a student-run seminar series that focuses on inspiring students from underrepresented backgrounds to be successful academics. This group highlights minority scholars to serve as role models to members of the campus community, and to provide guidance and professional opportunities to the students of CU-Boulder and the surrounding community. The program is rooted in STEM disciplines at present, but early plans are underway to expand to Social Sciences and the Arts & Humanities;
  • We have expanded safe spaces for students of color in the Cultural Unity and Engagement Center and the Abrams Lounge.

As these and a good many other efforts continue, I ask that we keep working together – compassionately, creatively, and effectively – to solve these problems in ways that benefit each, exclude none, and elevate all. In the coming days, the campus has my pledge that I and my senior leadership team will meet with any group of students, faculty or staff on these issues, and together map out a pathway to make real progress on diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence.