August 2021: Progress on Campus Commitments

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

Our university community has come together in profound ways to advance our goals in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). Leaders from across our campus are guiding critical initiatives; students have called to attention areas where we should evolve; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has expanded its programming, training and dialogue opportunities; and the DEIA Strategic Planning Task Force has made tremendous progress with the University’s first DEIA strategic plan. Countless others are involved, building on the work of so many over the years.

As I conclude my time at Syracuse this month, I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has been and continues to be involved in our shared efforts. It has been an honor to work with you. This work is a powerful example of what we can achieve together. I have been inspired by the insights of students, the collegiality and wisdom of our faculty and staff, and the caring, passion and drive shown by so many on issues of social justice.

The work continues, including on our Campus Commitments. The following are some recent examples:

·         The University administration received the Onondaga Haudenosaunee language greeting translation for Huntington Beard Crouse Hall signage. The translation reads “Wa’tgwanoñheñ:nyoñ’ hwa’dyoñgwe’dageh.” Efforts are underway to have the signage in place for the fall semester.

·         A new elevator is being installed and an ADA accessible restroom is being renovated at 119 Euclid Ave. The work is expected to be completed in the fall.

·         Work is underway at 113 Euclid Ave., which will house the Native Student Program, to install a new elevator and an ADA accessible entrance and ramp. The work is planned to be finished in the fall.

·         The Haudenosaunee flag is being flown at the National Veterans Resource Center. Consistent with the University’s practice of displaying the U.S. flag higher than other flags when flown at Syracuse University, the Haudenosaunee flag will fly at the same height as the seven other flags at the center.

·         As communicated in a message from Chief Bobby Maldanado to the campus community in June, the implementation of Loretta Lynch’s recommendations are continuing, including the posting of Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Standard Operating Procedures to the DPS website.

Along with Campus Commitments, other recent programming and initiatives developed by diversity and inclusion colleagues across campus include the following:

·         The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications created a bias-reporting survey for the school. About 450 students completed the survey by the end of May, and a majority of staff members completed the survey by the end of June.

·         Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, which is a collaboration between Burton Blatt Institute’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (OIPO) and Syracuse University Libraries, hosted a Zoom reading on June 25 with acclaimed writer Ona Gritz to celebrate her work in disability literature (#CripLit) and to assist with launching her new book, “Present Imperfect: Essays (Poets Wear Prada).”

·         The Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s DiversityEdu online course was completed by 100% of tenured faculty and full-time staff in May, and 95% of adjunct faculty completed the course.

All of these endeavors are the result of the commitment from many individuals to the ideals of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This vital work and the Syracuse University community—our drive toward academic excellence, our achievements in diversity and inclusion, and our indomitable spirit—will remain with me at all times. Thank you one and all.

Embracing our connectivity,

Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer