Wil Haygood spoke at Miami’s Convocation August 24. Standing at the site of the Freedom Summer Memorial, Wil told us powerful stories about black students at East High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1968 – and how their stories can teach us lessons of inspiration and triumph today.
Wil’s appearance is the first of dozens of events you’ll find at Miami University during this academic year. They will stretch all year long, celebrating the races, genders, nations and cultures represented on all of our campuses. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion unites us as one Miami community, supporting each other and standing strong against racism, bigotry, intolerance and hate. President Crawford, Miami’s administration and I are proud to be part of this community and are committed to fostering inclusive excellence at Miami.
We have made significant progress, but there is work to be done. Our comprehensive campus climate survey, completed last spring, will yield real action this fall. In the coming weeks, President Crawford will appoint a working group to manage that process. You’ll find a summary of results at www.MiamiOH.edu/one-miami-survey. The president also has commissioned a full equity salary study, woven diversity requirements into the job description of every Miami leadership role and ordered expanded bias awareness training for all new students, faculty and staff. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to build an inclusive and diverse culture on our campuses.
We also have much to celebrate:
We are recruiting more students of color. Look at this year’s incoming class – the largest and most diverse class ever at Miami, with 17.6 percent identified as domestic minority and 15.9 percent first-generation college students. More than 7 percent of the Class of 2022 are international. During the last decade, the diversity of our entire student body has steadily increased, from 8.6 percent domestic minority in 2007 to 14.1 percent in 2017. It will increase again this year. And those students are succeeding; we are closing the “graduation gap” for students of color at a pace among the top universities in the nation.
Miami invests heavily in support services for diverse students. Providing academic and social support for diverse students is a top priority. As an example, we fund the Office of Diversity Affairs, located in the Armstrong Student Center. This office advocates for students. We encourage all students to attend ODA events and take advantage of ODA services to help build a more inclusive Miami.
As we begin the academic year, let’s deepen our commitment to creating an environment of dignity, tolerance and respect for all. How can you help? Get involved. Find someone from a different country, or culture or background. Stop and talk, and share some time or a meal with them. Together, we can create a community that supports and values all Miamians.
Find out more at MiamiOH.edu/diversity.