Letter to the Editor #2, Vol. 103, Issue 17
Response to Recent Public Letters
On March 28, 2014 the Committee on Diversity (COD), a standing committee of the Faculty Senate, discussed A Public Letter Written to the Faculty and Administration of the University of Puget Sound written by Mariana Molina (published in The Trail and Wetlands Magazine online) and When Allies Fail: An Open Letter to the University Community written by C. J. Queirolo (published in Wetlands Magazine online).
Members of the COD commend both of these students for having the strength and courage to speak back to silence and to question institutional and classroom norms. Both letters challenge our campus community to take collective responsibility to create an inclusive campus climate.
The COD is charged, “To work with colleagues to maintain an educational environment that welcomes and supports diversity even as it protects and assures the rights of academic freedom outlined in the Faculty Code.”
Three actions the COD are pursuing are
- Forwarding the letters to the Faculty Senate and asking that the Senate read and discuss them
- Requesting that the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion distribute both letters to the campus wide community. We recommend that letters be accompanied by a statement from the university administration acknowledging the students’ lived realities on campus.
- Recommending to the Faculty Senate that the COD be charged to host discussions with faculty in the 2014-2015 academic year to discuss classroom and campus climate
We encourage all campus community members to read and discuss these letters
Michael Benitez, Chief Diversity Officer and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
Heidi Orloff, Professor, Exercise Science
Czarina Ramsay, Director, Multicultural Student Services
Amy Ryken, Professor, School of Education & Chair, Committee on Diversity
Oriel María Siu, Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages & Literature
Hannah Smith, Class of 2014
George Tomlin, Professor, School of Occupational Therapy
Jennifer Utrata, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology
Mike Valentine, Professor, Geology
Carolyn Weisz, Professor, Psychology