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Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

From the President’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Wittenberg University believes in fostering an inclusive, equitable campus climate and culture where all members of our diverse residential community can thrive. We aspire to attract and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. A diverse and inclusive campus enhances the living, learning, and working environment for every member of our community. Wittenberg commits to embracing a culture of respect and civil discourse, and preparing the members of our community to engage and succeed in an increasingly diverse environment.

The students, faculty, and staff at Wittenberg come from many backgrounds. Our community reflects diversity in socioeconomic status, race/ethnicities, ages, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, physical and cognitive qualities, nationalities, religious and nonreligious backgrounds, political beliefs, and work experiences. At Wittenberg, we abide by core values that speak to affirming the dignity of every person, and to educating the mind to know and the heart to care. As a campus, we value access to diverse opinions and the ability to learn from those with different perspectives as an asset and essential to our core values.

As we encourage free speech and inquiry, we also are committed to assuring responsibility and accountability for our words and actions. We believe there is a balance between unrestricted inquiry, personal responsibility, and accountability. Maintaining this balance is essential in order to create an inclusive, equitable, and safe living and learning community for all. As an institution, we are committed to working with groups to ensure they have representation, voice, and dignity.

We acknowledge that Wittenberg exists in an historical and cultural moment shaped by institutionalized forms of oppressions that have limited the opportunities for marginalized groups to have equitable access and opportunities to education. Our values then call us to remove the barriers that cause inequity in order to foster a diverse and inclusive community and work toward ending hate, bigotry, violence, and injustice in order to build an equitable community. Consistent with the ELCA’s Social Statement on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, we must “model an honest engagement with issues of race, ethnicity and culture, by being a community of mutual conversation, mutual correction, and mutual consolation.”

As members of the Wittenberg University community, we pledge to:

  1. Affirm the dignity of every person and foster a spirit of respect.
  2. Acknowledge, respect, honor, and celebrate diversity.
  3. Work together to create an environment that is both diverse and inclusive.
  4. Recognize and challenge the dynamics of power and privilege that create barriers to participation and equity at Wittenberg and in society.
  5. Confront and condemn bigotry, harassment, and discrimination.

We are committed to embracing the challenges ahead, learning from the past, and listening to our community about the best ways to build equity and support each other in a transforming society.

Adopted by the Wittenberg Board of Directors on February 7, 2020

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