I am writing today to make you aware of two advisory committees that have been formed to offer input on the climate of our campus with respect to inclusion, and to invite you to contact me or a member of the committee if you have an idea or concern that you believe either group should discuss.
The University’s Spirit of Inclusion articulates that we strive to create a community characterized by “mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.” We want students from all backgrounds regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and nationality to experience and contribute to a community where they feel welcome and valued.
In December 2012, the University of Notre Dame released Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame. As part of the implementation of this pastoral plan, I established the Advisory Committee for Student Climate Related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Students (LGBTQ).
During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Division of Student Affairs undertook a review of the campus climate for students with respect to racial and ethnic diversity. After analyzing student survey results, benchmarking peers, and conducting interviews with students, faculty, and staff, the Division adopted twenty-one recommendations that will help contribute to a more inclusive and welcoming climate. One of the recommendations was the formation of an Advisory Committee for Student Climate Related to Race & Ethnicity.
Comprised of undergraduate and graduate student representatives, administrators, and faculty, these committees are designed to offer input to me about the Notre Dame campus climate for students, especially related to topics around diversity and inclusion. The committees themselves will not adopt policy nor serve as official governing bodies. Instead, the goal of these committees is to assist Student Affairs in gathering information about our campus climate so we can remain attuned and responsive to student questions, concerns, and needs. Both of these committees meet separately twice a semester.
Current members of these committees can be found on the Division of Student Affairs website here.
As Notre Dame students, I hope you will contact a member of these committees if you have suggestions, questions, or concerns that you believe would be helpful to the mission of these groups. You may also send suggestions for consideration of these committees directly to firstname.lastname@example.org so your comments may be shared with the appropriate committee. Finally, my office also reserves several hours on my calendar each month for one on one individual meetings with students. You can contact my assistant, Ginger Chrapliwy, at 574-631-7394 to schedule one of these times.
Cultivating an inclusive campus community is an endeavor that lies at the heart of our mission as a Catholic university, and this aspiration can only be accomplished through open dialogue and genuine concern for one another as individuals. I am grateful to the members of these committees for their dedication to advancing our campus conversation around these topics, and I look forward to broader input from all of our students.
Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President for Student Affairs