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Statement about Affirming Diversity

Statement about Affirming Diversity
Elizabeth Griego, VP for Student Life November 2010

Diversity is more than the inclusion of diverse persons, although diverse presence - at all levels of the University -- is essential in demonstrating commitment to the above principles. Diversity is the experience of meaningful exploration and exchange through ongoing dynamic and reciprocal interactions. To experience diversity, we all become teachers, and we all become learners, in participating deeply and directly in an extended and constructive conversation. This conversation is part of what it means to be an academic community. No one should be excluded from this conversation and the conversation should be characterized by inclusion, civility, and respect. These are values to which Pacific is committed.

Affirming diversity at Pacific means recognizing the individual and cultural gifts of our students, faculty and staff; integrating opportunities for diverse experiences inside and outside the classroom; developing social networks for every student to feel supported and appreciated; and providing opportunities for productive encounters that will bring about the benefits of living in a diverse community. Diversity is affirmed when every member of our community feels heard, respected, supported, understood, productive, and safe.

The leadership in affirming diversity needs to be shared by all members of the Pacific community. We need Student Life staff to be intentional about developing programs and to rigorously assess and improve them. We need directors, deans and vice presidents to address diversity as they develop strategic plans, determine budget allocations, hire staff and faculty, and review performance. We need faculty who will strengthen the ties between their scholarship and the public good and provide opportunity in their classrooms for deep dialogue about things that matter. We need students who will contribute to making Pacific the university they desire it to be for themselves and for those who follow. We need alumni to utilize their networks and connection to Pacific to help us attract and to support the best that we can be. And we need all members of the Pacific community to speak up about what needs attention, what needs to change, what should be strengthened, and what is possible, and to be the change agents who bring creative ideas and innovative solutions to the fore. The work ahead is to join together in this extended conversation with a sustained commitment to creating a campus that nurtures students to succeed in their personal and professional lives, gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and develop even greater cross-cultural respect and appreciation.