Dear Marquette community,
As Dr. Kimo Ah Yun steps into his new role as our acting provost, the two of us wanted to take a moment to directly reaffirm our unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at Marquette University. It is our promise to each of you — students, faculty and staff — that we will continue to push for university-wide cultural change beyond mere implementation of diversity initiatives.
True diversity, equity and inclusive excellence are central to our Catholic, Jesuit mission and must be foundational across our institution.
Toward that end, we — along with President Michael R. Lovell — reaffirm efforts to diversify our student body, recognizing that this can only happen when all feel a sense of belonging at Marquette. We are especially mindful that the angst expressed by African American, Latinx and Native American students at Marquette be addressed positively as we move forward, and that we do not lose sight of our resolve to diversify — in every sense of the word — our faculty, staff and university leadership.
We pledge to work diligently to ensure that the voices of women are integral to how ideas are formed, strategies are set, and decisions are made across and at all levels of the university.
We must also be more gender inclusive, fostering an environment that makes the members of our LGBTQ+ community feel welcome, heard and safe on our campus.
As we near the 50th anniversary of the Educational Opportunity Program, we will seize this milestone as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to broadening access to a Marquette education, especially among first-generation students and those who come from families without the means to finance a college education, especially in Milwaukee’s low-income communities where neighborhood inequality persists. Our vision to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution is just one tangible way we will continue to push toward those goals.
While the day-to-day work of affecting real change can be overwhelming, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the progress that has been made. Since the Campus Climate Study report and recommendations were released in 2016, we’ve made significant strides — this brief video provides a helpful snapshot of that meaningful work, with which so many of you have been involved.
Further, it’s important that you know how deeply engaged we and other university leaders are with these difficult issues. The entire University Leadership Council is participating in the YWCA’s “Unlearning Racism” program, and recently, the head of that program and Marquette leaders had the unique opportunity to have an open and frank dialogue about what it takes to combat implicit bias and racism on campus, in our city and beyond. Please take a moment to read excerpts from that conversation.
Lastly, we are assembling a team of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds to plan for a comprehensive diversity and inclusion forum this spring. We will keep the campus community apprised as the format and specifics of the forum come together.
To achieve diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at Marquette University, we must not only believe that it can happen, we must also work together, tirelessly, every day to make the often-tough choices that affect true change toward what is right and what is just.
In the spirit of this week of Thanksgiving, we extend our sincerest gratitude to all of you who work every day toward creating a better Marquette.
Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. William Welburn
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence