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Opening equity and inclusion message to campus community

By

Roger Moreano

September 01, 2020

Dear Carthage students, faculty, and staff,

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! As we enter this new school year, you will find among many of us a great amount of excitement about our return to campus. You will also find uncertainty, trepidation, and caution as we work collectively to manage, to the best of our abilities, keeping the campus safe from the novel coronavirus which has disrupted our lives. This is a new experience that we will have to work on together to successfully complete the school year.

However, I write to you today not only to welcome you and acknowledge our new reality but to also address older realities and “societal pandemics” that we will have to work on together. These social realities have been present throughout the American experience and have intensified in the past year: rampant and blatant racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, police brutality, etc. These societal ills have been incredibly present in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake right here in Kenosha.

Carthage has also been impacted by these issues as we have been victim to three white supremacist and Nazi-related incidents of graffiti and messaging discovered on campus this summer. This has caused students and staff to be fearful of living and working in this community.

Let it be known that the Office of Equity and Inclusion, our Bias Education Response Team, and our Equity and Inclusion Committee will work to shed a light on these issues on campus and use all resources at our disposal to root out hateful, bigoted, and discriminatory acts on campus, and hold responsible the individual(s) involved. In this effort, we will also work tirelessly to ensure that we amplify student voices who have shared how their classroom experiences have been marred by discriminatory behavior from faculty and fellow students.

The days of students, faculty, and staff being marginalized and dehumanized by those among our Carthage community who hold bigoted views are over. We will not tolerate hate in our community from anyone, no matter the source. We will address head-on discriminatory and dehumanizing rhetoric in the classroom which has created fear and a hostile environment for trans folks, people of color, women, Jewish community members, Muslim community members, and more.

As we move forward into this new school year, my office will be launching an anti-hate campaign which will include bias education workshops so students may be educated on how to identify bigotry in and out of the classroom, how to report it, and how to support our campus in rooting out bigotry from our community.

We will be asking every area of campus: Are you discriminating in your daily practices? In your policies? In how funding is allocated? In your social events? In Greek Life? Are we asking “who is not at the table” when planning events? Are we paying attention to the realities of our LGBTQIA Plus students, faculty, and staff, who continue to be marginalized on campus? Are we creating a campus infrastructure which allows queer, trans, and non-binary folks to interact with and navigate the campus not only safely, but authentically, visibly, and confidently without fear? Are we tokenizing people of color, in particular, black and brown students and student-athletes, and staff and faculty of color? Are we revisiting our working relationship with the Kenosha Police Department to address the legitimate fears of many current Carthage students of their potential presence on campus?

We will also work to ask the administration to mandate professional development on equity and inclusion issues for all faculty and staff in order to help create a more inclusive and equitable community. We will be asking the College to include an evaluation system as part of annual performance reviews for faculty and staff which measures support of equity and inclusion on campus. We will seek to create more mechanisms for students to provide feedback and evaluations on their experiences with faculty on campus. We are going to insist on accountability.

Carthage, like America, is now at a crossroads. It is not enough to be “not racist.” We are in a time and place where we must either be actively anti-racist and anti-hate in all of our actions OR be an enabler of racism and hate. We must move forward teaching our community to regularly assess our daily practices, daily classroom lesson plans, daily projects, and show out in ways that leave no doubt where we stand and what we stand for.

Our mission statement concludes with the word, “together.” In this spirit, we ask all those students, faculty, and staff who are committed to creating a more just and equitable campus and society to work together to tackle the great challenges ahead of us in order to provide all Carthaginians with an experience that allows all to feel safe, confident, and at home on this campus.

It means creating a campus that decades of past Carthage graduates from marginalized communities had always hoped for.

It means creating a campus of which our current marginalized students are insisting be created.

If not now, when?

If not us, then who?

Roger Moreano
Assistant Dean of Students, Student Affairs Director of Equity and Inclusion
Co-Chair of Equity and Inclusion Committee
Coordinator, Bias Education Response Team (BERT)

SPONSORING DEPARTMENT, OFFICE, OR ORGANIZATION:

Student Affairs Office of Equity and Inclusion

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Roger Moreano, rmoreano@carthage.edu