“I can’t breathe.” George Floyd died with a white police officer’s knee pressing on his neck, becoming one of a too-long list of Black men, women and children killed by racism, both systemic and specific. Some of their names - Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor - are publicly known; untold others are mourned in private. These events are in the news, but they are not new.
To Lehigh’s Black community, who are hurt, angry, scared, fed up - the Council for Equity and Community stands with you. We hear you. You matter. Black Lives Matter.
We condemn systemic racism, and the egregious racist incidents against Black individuals and communities. In our role as an advisory body to Lehigh’s Vice President for Equity and Community, we take our charge seriously: to listen, to be a conduit for turning what Lehigh’s marginalized and underrepresented communities are asking, saying and experiencing into action and structural change.
“We” our body and our individual members are personally committed to diversity, equity and inclusion - yet we acknowledge also our collective failures to provide our Black community with all they need. We stand in solidarity with you now to listen, learn, educate and transform.
All are invited to a virtual forum in early July co-sponsored by the CEC with Lehigh’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for a frank conversation on these issues. We invite participation from Lehigh students, staff and faculty. Please stay tuned for details.
Issues we are paying attention to include transparency in policing, implicit bias training and awareness, and retention and support for students, faculty and staff of color. We support and are eager to engage with the work of Lehigh’s new task force charged with comprehensively reviewing university policies and procedures to ensure they are anti-racist.
We welcome additional ideas and resources to continue these efforts. Here are a few:
This will be an ongoing conversation. Lehigh is not immune to the racism that permeates our society: Black students, faculty and staff experience microaggressions and racist incidents and feel unsupported and misrepresented. While institutions of higher education often see themselves as champions for change, they are part of the problem when they inadequately address these issues and needs. Lehigh has made committed efforts - but it’s not enough. We are called not just to respond, to improve, to better - but to lead, to solve. Please join us.
Lehigh University Council for Equity and Community (CEC)
About the CEC:
The Council for Equity and Community (CEC) is an independent advisory board composed of Lehigh staff, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students committed to serving as a campus resource in the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion. We encourage constructive dialogue and work toward building a stronger campus community for all.
Juggling remote working and learning with life’s many (and perhaps new) responsibilities in our current reality may be causing increased stress and anxiety; the lines between school/work and other parts of our lives are blurred. The Council for Equity and Community hopes that during this challenging time, you are finding support and connections and utilizing the many helpful tips, tools and resources available for faculty, staff, and students to aid in this transition to online work, teaching and learning.
The responsibility of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion at Lehigh University carries on even while we are not together on campus. Strategies for productive and inclusive face-face meetings still apply to online meetings, and may be even more critical for your remote interactions. We encourage each of you to continue to embrace the Principles of Our Equitable Community while planning and conducting your remote meetings and events and to integrate the VISIONS Guidelines for Effective Dialogue into these conversations.
To compliment the LTS guides for using online teaching, learning and meeting tools (e.g. Zoom) effectively and securely, the inclusive meeting practices we have provided in this document will help you ensure your online meetings are successful for all participants.
The CEC hopes you, your families and friends are well; we look forward to the time when we are back together on campus.
The Center for Community Engagement is hosting a special workshop that will bring faculty and staff together to develop creative strategies to address systemic racial inequality in our society and here at Lehigh. This workshop is intended for all interested faculty and staff whether your research, work and teaching focuses directly on these questions or seems unrelated to them. Dr. Christopher Driscoll and Dr. Seth Moglen will lead the workshop to help us dive deep into racial understandings on college campuses. The Workshop is Wednesday, November 29 from 4pm-6pm in Williams Hall room 080.
The Council for Equity and Community (CEC) welcomes you to the 2017-2018 academic year.
The CEC is made up of colleagues, classmates, mentors and friends who share the goal of creating a more welcoming and inclusive Lehigh. We work to influence university culture and policy by encouraging conversation and collaboration on the wide range of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The CEC is responsible for reviewing the results of the annual Lehigh Survey of campus climate and providing recommendations. The survey data for 2016 is now available online for all members of the Lehigh community to read: http://www.lehigh.edu/~inprv/communications/pubsreports.html#lehighsurvey. This summer, we hosted three workshops in which the Lehigh community discussed and sought solutions for the issues identified in the 2015 survey. We will host similar workshops for the results of the 2016 survey and hope you will participate. Each of us has a role to play in this work.
The Council also awards grants to Lehigh student organizations working to build a more inclusive Lehigh. Last academic year, we provided more than $12,000 in funding to develop programming through a selective process. Learn more about the CEC’s grant-making efforts and how to apply here: https://www1.lehigh.edu/diversity/cec/funding.
Recently, our membership met with Vice President for Equity and Community Donald A. Outing to affirm the CEC’s new role as an advisory group supporting the work of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. Dr. Outing came to Lehigh in January from West Point to fill this newly created position dedicated to this important work, and we’re excited to align our work with his strategic vision for Lehigh.
We hope you had the opportunity to read President Simon’s letter to the Lehigh community regarding the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia. We stand firmly with President Simon in recommitting to our shared values and in rejecting hatred, bigotry and intolerance. We ask you to join us in sustaining a welcoming and inclusive culture here at Lehigh.
We are pleased to be joined by newly elected tri-chair Liz Hill, Coordinator in Sociology and Anthropology, who replaces Lori McClaind in our leadership. Lori stepped down after several years of representing the Dean of Students Office on the CEC.
Best wishes for a successful and engaging semester.
Tri-Chairs of the CEC Elizabeth Hill, Coordinator, Sociology and Anthropology Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost, International Affairs Jennifer Swann, Professor, Biological Sciences
Executive Committee of the CEC Clara Buie, Program Director, International Affairs Christopher Burke, Associate Professor, Psychology David Caruso, Project Manager, President’s Office Karen Salvemini, Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, Office of General Counsel Sarah Stanlick, Professor of Practice, Sociology and Anthropology