To the Campus Community:

I write to provide an update on our ongoing efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, and to identify the offices charged with advancing these important efforts.

Over the last several years, the role of Senior Diversity Officer has been held by both the Dean of Faculty, then Robin Rinehart, and more recently by the Dean of Students, Chris Hunt. A number of significant initiatives were undertaken during this time, including the Faculty Strategic Priority Hiring Initiative, the Campus Climate Survey, and the implementation of a preferred-name policy. A complete list of recent and ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts can be found at diversity.lafayette.edu/our-initiatives.

At this time, we believe campus-wide efforts require a campus-wide approach. Rather than asking a single administrator to lead our diversity and inclusion efforts, I am charging the three senior administrators who constitute the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council–Jamila Bookwala, Dean of the Faculty (chair), Chris Hunt, Dean of Students, and Alma Scott-Buczak, Associate Vice President for Human Resources– with undertaking an enhanced, joint role in overseeing these efforts. The DEI Council as a group will report directly to me.

In addition to coordinating efforts specific to faculty, students, and staff, the DEI Council will now be responsible for generating campus-wide initiatives and collaborative programming. The DEI Council will also play a role in navigating campus concerns related to these areas, bringing together appropriate committees and offices such as the faculty Diversity Committee, CITLS, the Office of Intercultural Development, the Chaplain’s Office, and the Equity, Transformation, and Accountability Board and other student organizations whose mission it is to build a more inclusive campus community.

The Council will work to establish priorities, ensure open and transparent communication, facilitate connections between standing committees, and work actively to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, broadly speaking, with attention to such issues as hiring, retention, climate, discourse, curriculum, and programming.

The Council will not simply respond to situations or issues, but will undertake proactive efforts, building resources and making these accessible. As the College continues to pursue our goal of building a more diverse campus, the DEI Council will help to ensure that we are prepared to support and adapt to our evolving community.

We invite members of the campus community to reach out to council members if you wish to share ideas or hope to engage the Council with an ongoing initiative or a campus group’s work. The DEI Council can be reached at deicouncil@lafayette.edu, or you can contact the specific council members at: Jamila Bookwala, bookwalj@lafayette.edu, Chris Hunt, huntgc@lafayette.edu, and Alma Scott-Buczak, scotta@lafayette.edu.

I am very grateful to Jamila, Chris, and Alma for their leadership of these efforts, and look forward to working with them, and with the entire community, in support of our goal of making Lafayette diverse, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming to all.

President Alison Byerly