NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.---Westminster has been making changes to improve diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus. Last spring, the Office of Student Affairs hired Candace Okello, who now oversees this initiative. The college is also seeking a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that will report to Okello. From a student perspective, SGA is bringing back Civil Dialogues, and ALLIES is undergoing a name change to become SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance). President Richardson shed some light on these changes to help students understand why they are necessary.
“The college’s strategic plan calls us to build upon the inclusive heritage of Westminster, and the heightened calls for social justice make it even more imperative for us to support diversity, inclusion and equity on our campus as well as off campus,” Richardson stated.
Richardson continues to support Dean Vance and Ms. Okello as they conduct “research into best practices in this important area that is informing what we are doing, and members of our faculty and staff are working with students to develop a strategic plan that will guide these efforts.”
The president added that the new Director for DE&I efforts will assist Okello in supporting students and student organizations as well as educating and inspiring the campus community.
President Richardson attended the first Civil Dialogues of the semester and encourages students to do the same. She expressed that Civil Dialogues “provide a time for the critical listening, discussing and reflecting that characterize a liberal arts education. These dialogues offer a safe place to discuss and reflect on difficult issues.” She added that the session in which she participated “filled with thoughtful comments and meaningful insights and pointed me to additional reading.”
Richardson also supports the name change for ALLIES/SAGA as they continue to “promote awareness, support and involvement among our students.”
President Richardson is calling the campus community to action stating, “This is the time for us all to become more informed and more active in promoting anti-racism and social justice. Westminster was founded on visionary principles that all persons—regardless of gender, race, caste or creed—would be welcomed into this academic community and supported in their education. We live into that vision as we work together in ways that promote “humankind at its best,” as the College’s mission calls us to do.”