- Campus Community
Making Our Campus More Inclusive and Respectful for All
Dear University of Maryland community,
We write to share with you three initial steps towards making our campus more inclusive and respectful for all.
First, the University Senate last week endorsed the recommendations of the Joint President and Senate Task Force on Inclusion and Respect. The President then approved the recommendations endorsed by the Senate.
The main recommendations of the Joint Task Force include:
- Adopt its statement on the University's core values: unity in diversity; respectfulness; safety and individual agency; inclusiveness; accountability; empowerment and personal growth.
- Adopt its statement on the University's core principles of freedom of expression and academic freedom.
- Promote a culture of inclusion and respect through education and training.
- Implement a conduct policy that prohibits threatening or intimidating conduct.
- Respond rapidly and transparently to hate-bias incidents.
- Achieve an appropriate balance between campus-wide (centralized) and unit-specific (decentralized) activities to advance diversity and inclusion.
- Communicate often on actions regarding inclusion and respect.
- Identify and acquire the resources to implement these recommendations.
- Assess continually the University's progress in the above areas.
The Task Force report can be found here.
Second, the University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion retained an outside consultant to conduct the first-ever campus climate survey on this subject.
While it was not a randomly drawn sample of our 50,000 students, faculty, and staff, the nearly 10,000 respondents who completed some or all of the questionnaire provide valuable impressions. A finding is that the majority of respondents feel welcome at our University, but there are differences based on one's racial or other personal identification. We must work to strengthen the sense of belonging among all members of our University. Working together, we all need to do more to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as strengthen our common unity predicated on shared values and civil discourse.
The preliminary report of this climate survey can be found here.
The President has asked campus leaders to begin implementing the Joint Task Force's recommendations and related initiatives. For example, underway is an education initiative for students, faculty, and staff on diversity and inclusion. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has hired a coordinator for the new rapid-response team on hate-bias incidents and a new director for training and education. The University established a new Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, housed in the College of Education, to be a national hub for research, policy, and professional standards in this field. It is directed by Professor Roger Worthington, interim Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer.
Third, at the request of the Provost, Dr. Worthington assembled an external team of highly regarded authorities on diversity and inclusion. This team came to campus last week to review our programs and activities in this area. Their charge is to recommend improvements in light of best practices nationwide. The external reviewers met with representatives of the students, faculty, staff, administration, and University Senate. Their report will be submitted this summer.
The creation of a more inclusive and respectful culture, anchored by our core values and principles, is essential to the excellence of the University of Maryland. This responsibility rests on all of us. We will provide timely communications on our collective progress.
Wallace D. Loh, President and Daniel E. Falvey, Chair, University Senate