Diversity Celebration Success Adds Spirit to WSU Efforts, President’s Office Adds Support to January Racial Justice Conference

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University officials are pleased with the success of the fall Diversity Celebration that demonstrated the spirit and wide range of programs and resources provided here at Washington State University.

More than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members signed the diversity pledge at the September celebration. Added to the Pullman pledges were many more signed by others at WSU’s branch campuses. The names of those who signed the pledges are part of an exhibit located on the Compton Union Building’s ground-level floor down the hall from the post office.

Lang said the President’s Office has pledged its support of the Jan. 25-26 Racial Justice Conference sponsored by the WSU YWCA and WSU Women’s Resource Center. The program keynote speaker will be Cornell West, a nationally recognized speaker on racism. West is expected to discuss “Racial Issues in America and on College Campuses.”

“This partnership reinforces WSU’s commitment to embrace diversity and to challenge discrimination,” Milton Lang, special assistant to the president, said.

“Washington State University affirms the value of every person and celebrates the enrichment of our community through its diversity, including differences in race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, class, language and nationality,” the WSU President V. Lane Rawlins told the audience of 1,800 who attended the formal signing ceremony this fall.

The pledge offers individuals the opportunity to commit to creating a safe learning, living and thriving environment for all people.

Lang said the fall event provided a forum for the community to come together and learn about resources and special programs available at the university this year. Visitors lined the Beasley Coliseum concourse where various clubs and organizations shared information about diversity efforts.

“Many said the pledge provided the opportunity to rethink and reevaluate their commitment to diversity,” Lang said. “They now can see what a difference they can make individually.”

“It’s time to take responsibility,” Lang told those at the program. “When you talk about WSU, you are talking about yourself. Together we can work miracles.”

The Office of the President sponsored the celebration, part of a number of recommendations made by last year’s Council on Campus Climate. Rawlins appointed the 30-member council last fall to address concerns, including violence, racism, homophobia, and recruitment and retention of faculty of color. Council members included 20 students, five faculty and five staff.

The council also recommended a campus-wide racism conference to educate the campus and surrounding community on issues such as racism, homophobia, bias and hate crimes. That recommendation will be met through the Racial Justice Conference.

The university is still collecting diversity pledge signatures. To add your name to the list, call Alicia Tate at Lang’s office, 509/335-5506, or e-mail her at altate@wsu.edu.