In the midst of a pandemic, the longest sustained demonstrations for racial justice in five decades, and an economic crisis, we find ourselves at a point of critical introspection, action, and transformation. For the past several months, we have all adjusted the daily routines we never imagined having to change to maintain public health. Now, the Viterbo family – from students to alumni to staff – has come together to call for more change: the pursuit of justice and peace, an end to violence against people of color, and a dismantling of the policies that perpetuate systems of oppression and inequity.
As did our FSPA founders more than a century ago, we move forward to serve our community, our country, and our faith and bring about necessary, lasting change. In the past two weeks, the Viterbo Diversity Committee has expanded to make immediate recommendations, develop new initiatives, and refine existing projects. We are focusing on initiatives in five categories, including professional and personal development and training, review of existing diversity-related initiatives to determine effectiveness, curriculum analysis and revision to amplify diverse voices and deepen understanding of and engagement with diversity, hate/bias reporting and response mechanisms, and activities that promote policy change. If you are interested in educating yourself or others on systemic racism, in the next weeks we will be sharing resources, readings, and opportunities for discussion. Our students will be invited to a virtual forum this summer to discuss and process.
We understand our efforts are more effective through collaboration. To help support and sustain community efforts, Viterbo University is increasing its sponsorship of two local organizations that are committed to inclusion and racial justice — the La Crosse YWCA and the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council (GLADC). The YWCA will be utilizing these funds specifically to support increased racial justice training programs. Support for GLADC will be directed toward operations and topic panels.
As we stand in solidarity with our community members who are people of color, we commit ourselves to the values of inclusion, respect, and equity that live at the core of our culture. This is a week to celebrate inclusion. Diversity makes our community stronger, and we move forward in that spirit.
Here is a video message: https://youtu.be/lrkvWIqd7Go
Viterbo University President