Aultman College Community,
As I, like you, digest all the turmoil taking place in our society, it is difficult to put into words my personal disgust for the treatment of George Floyd. It is incredibly sad and outrageous to me that this is but the most recent example. Not the only. The African-American community is suffering, and they are joined by many, many people from many diverse communities.
My position and voice are those of privilege. As a white woman in a leadership role, I consider it my responsibility not only to continue to listen and learn from those who are different from me, but to act. With this privilege, I am responsible to actively work to bridge gaps and provide paths to allow every person to reach his/her full potential. I have been challenged in recent days to apply this passion directly to the construct of society that is inherently unfair to people of color. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to take steps forward and I’m thankful to be able to lead our Aultman College community during this time. As such, I’d like to remind you of what Aultman College stands for.
We value compassion, integrity, and respect.
There are no qualifiers on that value. That value is for all people. What we have witnessed is yet another example of the absolute imbalance of this value in our greater society applying to people of color.
We value diversity of ideas, cultures, and people.
Our upcoming strategic plan, which kicks off in Fall 2020, includes an initiative to re-awaken inclusion efforts on our campus. As an institution of higher education, we also bear the responsibility of influencing the community around us. We knew the time to act was upon us, but it has been reinforced with recent events. In this light, I will be accelerating action on this specific strategic plan initiative. We will hold our first meeting on revising inclusion efforts this month. It is essential that this effort embody our values in having diversity of ideas, cultures and people, so I invite you to reach out to me directly ([email protected]) if you would like to participate.
A touchstone piece in my life has been “How to Build Community” by Syracuse Cultural Workers. A quote from that work stands out to me now more than ever. “Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.”
Let us play our part. Let us inspire. Let us influence. Let us lead.
Jean R. Paddock Ph.D.
President, Aultman College