In 2013, President David Pershing initiated the Office for Inclusive Excellence to inaugurate a bias incident reporting system. His decision came after several bias incidents occurred at our university, which prompted students to raise awareness about the negative impact of bias on the campus climate. The 2012-2013 ASUU President, Geneva Thompson and her cabinet members, were instrumental in forging this change. Under the leadership of Student Affairs Vice President, Barbara Snyder, and Senior Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Martha Bradley, RespectU emerged out of the Office for Inclusive Excellence as a resource for students to anonymously report incidents of bias. As a direct report to both administrators, the Director of the Office for Inclusive Excellence is charged with overseeing the reporting system, and fostering an environment that contributes to a positive and welcoming campus climate in which all students maintain a sense of belonging.
As a result of the imperatives to underscore our University's commitment to inclusive excellence, the University Resources for Inclusion and Education (URISE) committee was established to facilitate the following objectives:
- To assist students who report bias-related incidents by discussing resources, including informal and formal options moving forward;
- To advocate for creative and meaningful curricular experiences that advances our University’s core principles;
- To collaborate with students, professors, and staff to support and enhance more inclusive teaching and learning on our campus community;
- To provide customized educational workshops and programming to individuals, departments, and colleges to encourage multicultural awareness and cultural competency;
- To advance a culture of diversity and inclusion that values and respects a living, learning, and working environment in which all students can participate and excel.
These objectives underscore the University’s commitment to integrate dynamic cultural and intellectual traditions that intersect with inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge systems. They strengthen the mission of Student Affairs to develop programs and services to foster access and shared responsibility for diversity. They also affirm the vision of Undergraduate Studies to reimagine the possibilities of embedding our vital learning community with the core value of inclusive excellence.