UI administrators promote acceptance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at campus event

On Monday, UI President Bruce Harreld and Vice President of Student Life and Interim Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Melissa Shivers gave their remarks on diversity on campus.


Ryan Adams

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld speaks at the diversity, equity, and inclusion event at the Old Capitol Museum on Monday, April 29, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

University of Iowa administrators on Monday celebrated the steps the institution has taken to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.

At a reception held by the Staff Council, UI President Bruce Harreld and interim Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Melissa Shivers dicussed campus efforts to support underrepresented populations.

The theme of the reception was Making Connections and Breaking Barriers. The event was held to thank faculty and staff for making campus an inclusive and equal-opportunity environment, said Carly Armour, the Staff Council Diversity Committee co-chair.

Harreld said that, before the reception, he approved the renaming of the Charter Committee on Diversity to the Charter Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the university’s Operations Manual.

“It isn’t just about any one of those words,” Harreld said. “It’s about how we accept and bring others into our community and how we learn from one another.”

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Having a diverse group of people in any setting strengthens the group by bringing in different ideas, he said. He hopes the expansion of the office will reinforce the need for different perspectives among leaders and groups in general, he said.

The 2018 campus-climate survey has shown gaps in the satisfaction of marginalized groups on campus, with survey respondents who identify as being part of a marginalized population reporting lower satisfaction with the campus environment, according to a report released earlier this month.

Survey respondents also reported facing discrimination for a number of facets of their identities, such as gender identity or expression, race and ethnicity, and political ideology.

However, Harreld said he sees these results as an opportunity for the campus to improve and focus on specific areas.

Shivers said her takeaway from the survey results, the listening sessions, and plan for the future is that the UI has a lot of opportunities to make systemic changes for the campus, she said.

“That’s going to require all of us to not only think different but be different,” she said. “To challenge not only ourselves but the other people around us, to … question, ‘Why do we do that? What obstacles are we unintentionally putting in the way to a staff member, or a student, or a faculty member’s success? What are things I can do as an individual to make the University of Iowa a success?’ ”

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