Letter to the editor: Campus improving commitment to diversity

We’d like to thank the students who attended the forum Monday night to hear the results of UW-Madison’s first-ever campus-wide climate survey. It’s important we use the survey results to continue to improve campus climate.

We’d like to offer additional context to the evening’s discussion.

Our university and Chancellor Blank are strongly committed to diversity, as demonstrated by the longstanding investments our campus has made and the value and priority the chancellor personally places on diversity and inclusion. For instance, when the university faced significant budget cuts, Chancellor Blank protected diversity programs so they were not as affected.

Over the last five years, the university has worked diligently to expand support services and programming that directly addresses the needs of all students, particularly students of color and students from historically marginalized communities. We’ve expanded programming through affinity groups at the Multicultural Student Center and the LGBT Center, and last spring we opened a newly renovated Black Cultural Center. We’ve seen the Our Wisconsin inclusion program grow to 134 workshops serving more than 4,300 freshmen, and the Discussion Project through the School of Education has trained dozens of faculty and instructional staff on how to create high-quality classroom discussion experiences and inclusive learning environments.

There are other things we could list that speak to a genuine commitment from campus leadership regarding diversity and inclusion, actions we’ve taken to push us as a university toward where we know we want to be. We all can agree that lasting progress is made only when administrators and students work together toward a common goal, and we remain as committed as ever to creating work and learning environments where all feel welcomed, valued and included.

Our success in engaging diversity and inclusion continues to demand that each and every one of us across campus embrace the opportunity to move our campus forward. As the Dean of Students and the Chief Diversity Officer, we’ll continue to do so with the full support of the university’s senior leaders.

In Community,

Lori Berquam

Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Patrick Sims

Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer

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