Dear members of Metropolitan State University:
Yesterday's national holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. provides an opportunity for each of us to reflect on the ideals of liberty, justice and equality, and how they impact our daily lives as members of a highly diverse learning community. As a university, we passionately believe that the education we offer is an important means of achieving both individual fulfillment and social equity.
To assure these outcomes we must commit to weaving our university’s core commitments to anti-racism, equity, an open and respectful climate, and lifelong learning into the fabric of our lives as faculty members, students, staff, and citizens.
To demonstrate our university's resolve, I want to share with you some of the less-visible activities of the university's leadership team, councils and committees during this past year.
- Beginning last May, I engaged the President's Cabinet in assessing and improving our collective intercultural competence by taking the Intercultural Development Inventory and developing a plan to help the team become more culturally adaptable in our leadership of Metropolitan State.
- Later this month, seven university leaders, including the presidents our IFO and MSUAASF local bargaining units, will attend a day-long mentored workshop sponsored by Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) to learn how we can work together around improving commitment to our ideals and achievement of equitable outcomes on our campus.
- Our Equity and Inclusion Council is working to implement five goals to improve our climate and campus operations in ways that will improve both inclusion and equity.
- The American Indian Advisory Council has met with me monthly, during which time we have identified the long-standing need for an American Indian Student Center on campus and found the space to house it. We expect a ribbon cutting in late spring semester.
- Our newly implemented Policy Council is developing protocols to examine all policies and procedures for unspoken assumptions that reinforce the approach of the dominant culture and have unintended impacts on other campus constituents and to mitigate these effects.
- Our Anti-Racism Leadership Team has agreed to help me plan a campus summit next year that will bring all faculty and staff together to examine indicators of our success in meeting our equity goals and realizing our university vision to "build a culturally competent and anti-racist learning community..." so that we can assess our university's progress, renew our focus, and identify the next level of challenge to be tackled.
While I recognize that good work goes on every day, in countless ways, all across our campus community, I urge all of us to examine what more we can do in our daily encounters, in classrooms, and in meetings to achieve our ideals. In the last speech of his life, delivered on April 3, 1968 (known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech ), the Rev. Dr. King urged those in attendance to rise up “with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. I am inspired to answer Dr. King's call and to carry on his legacy by working with each of you to make Metropolitan State University a better, more inclusive, and equitable learning community.
Over the weeks and months ahead I encourage students, colleagues, and neighbors to participate in upcoming campus and community opportunities to promote racial healing, embrace diversity of people and ideas, and draw upon our strengths, so we can come together to build a better university, a better community, and a better nation.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University