As we seek to improve shared efforts around diversity and inclusion, we now are working in a number of areas to move from conversation to action. In that spirit, I am pleased to invite you to join in the President’s Forum on Social Justice, October 13, in the Commonwealth Ballrooms. All are welcome to attend any of the three 2-hour sessions:
· 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
· 1:30-3:30 p.m.
· 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Please note that this date is different than the one previously announced.
The President’s Forum on Social Justice continues conversations held in the spring and offers faculty, staff, and students another chance to share their voices on critically important issues for our community. Forum participants will engage in moderated tabletop conversations to raise concerns related to social justice at VCU and in our nation and world, and then work together to offer solutions. This is at the heart of this forum: bringing issues forward and focusing on action.
Please click here to RSVP for one of the 2-hour time blocks and to propose tabletop discussion topics.
So that we may engage in inclusive dialogue and offer meaningful actions that advance our community, I hope many members of our community can attend one of the 2-hour time blocks. About 200 people can be accommodated during each session.
To ensure accountability and transparency, the recommended actions from each session will be recorded and archived. You may also take part in this conversation or make recommendations using #VCUSocialJustice on social media or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your classes conflict with all three sessions, please discuss the possibility of an excused absence with your professor. I understand, however, that midterm tests and other class requirements may prevent your attendance at this forum. I also encourage unit administrators to allow faculty and staff to attend if possible. These conversations are important to us all and to the future of the nationally premier university we comprise.
After this forum, recommendations will be given to the President’s Action Group on Diversity and Inclusion (PAGDI), whose membership includes senior administrators specifically charged with advancing inclusion at VCU. They will consider and, as practical, begin to take steps to implement these recommendations in both the short and long term. Along with the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan, which is due to me by the end of this semester, the work of this Forum will help shape our efforts to make VCU more inclusive of all people.
While PAGDI and others will be accountable for moving these initiatives forward, the work is not theirs alone. Every person at VCU—every member of our faculty, staff, and student body—has an earnest responsibility to ensure a culture that values all people and that allows all people to succeed because their voices are heard, their ideas are respected, and their contributions are valued.
I recognize that while VCU is incredibly diverse, it is not always inclusive. We have made significant strides—some of which have been recorded and may be downloaded here—but we have much still to do. I also recognize that there is no place that is more willing to engage in these often-difficult conversations or more prepared to work together to find solutions.
I look forward to seeing you on October 13 and to advancing together as one university that welcomes, values, and appreciates everyone.