July 29, 2020

To the William Paterson Faculty and Staff:

We hope this message finds you well and enjoying your summer.
At a time in our nation’s history when many of us continue to denounce racism and other forms of injustice, William Paterson must position itself to be culturally responsive to the realities and challenges of today, so that we can create and sustain a culture of greater equity and inclusion. As members of this University community, we all must remain committed to doing our own work to improve our practices of equity and inclusion. Through collaboration, we can all work collectively to create an inclusive learning and working environment, where everyone has an opportunity to grow, succeed, and be their authentic self.
It is important for all of us to be dedicated to creating and sustaining an inclusive campus culture which acknowledges, accepts, and celebrates the richness of our diversity and helps build bridges across our shared differences. We must meet each challenge with an opportunity to grow, learn, and better understand how to confront issues of injustice and to work toward dismantling systems of oppression and inequities that are created and perpetuated by our policies, practices, procedures, and curriculum.
As we continue to navigate the challenges and inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to our growth as a University that we prioritize and advance a diversity agenda which, overtime, executes and promotes key initiatives that intentionally demonstrate the value of equity and creates a more inclusive community. These key initiatives prioritize William Paterson’s commitment to increasing our cultural capacity to engage across difference and increase our knowledge, skills, and awareness of ourselves and others. The key diversity strategic initiatives that will take place during the 2020-2021 academic year are:
  • Establish a Diversity Council composed of selected faculty, staff, and students to understand, address, and respond to diversity and inclusion concerns at the University and work in partnership with University stakeholders to create a more inclusive campus environment. The Diversity Council will drive key University projects, such as creating a Diversity Statement and Diversity Strategic Plan, and monitor the progress of the LGBTQIA Needs Assessment Taskforce and Hispanic Serving Institution Taskforce.
  • Launch a Community Dialogue Series for faculty and staff to engage in meaningful conversations on race, racism, and other forms of oppression. This series will aim to increase consciousness of self to better understand others and work toward a more inclusive community. This initiative for faculty and staff will align with pre-existing student programs, such as the Courageous Conversations Series, led by The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and The BRIDGE Support Group, led by The Center for Counseling, Health, and Wellness.
  • Implement a President’s Diversity Lecture, which will be an annual event sponsored by the Office of the President to bring faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members together for a lecture program featuring a leading diversity scholar.
  • Participate in the nationally recognized University of Southern California Equity Institute, which is geared toward selected senior University administration and faculty members, who complete an intensive and extensive, eight-module institute experience that prepares and positions participants to include an equity lens in decision making, policy development, and organizational practices. 
  • Produce a Campus Climate Report, which will highlight key findings and recommendations from the Campus Climate Survey.
If we, as a University, are to be dedicated to leading and championing these efforts to help advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across our community, then we must all be invested in them. Your actions, voice, and contributions are encouraged in our collective effort toward greater equity and inclusion. We look forward to all we can accomplish to make our wonderful, diverse University more inclusive for everyone.
We are all in this together!
Richard J. Helldobler, PhD