Midland Board Approves Anti-Racist Resolution
In its continued pursuit for equity and inclusivity, Midland University has passed a Resolution of Commitment to Anti-Racist Practices and Policies. The Resolution was unanimously approved by the Midland University Board of Directors. The resolution was created in the belief that all students, faculty, and staff should enjoy a welcoming, open, and safe environment on campus and that diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of Midland’s strengths.
Dr. Lawrence Chatters, Vice President for Student Affairs at Midland and Chief Diversity Officer, said, “We’ve been having purposeful discussions with our Board around equity and inclusion given everything that transpired in our country over the summer.” “Through this resolution we are affirming and recognizing that we are not where we want to be and are committed to improving,” said Chatters.
Among the many components of the resolution, Midland, through its affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has been called upon to “confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace.”
“We as an institution must acknowledge the existence of systemic racism,” Dr. Chatters said. “This is an issue that has been present since the founding of our country. There’s never been a time we’ve experienced full equity amongst people. Much like we are always seeking ways to be a more perfect Union, we are seeking ways to become a more perfect university.”
Following his recent appointment as the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Chatters believes this resolution is another step in helping Midland achieve its goal of being an inclusive space. “This is a positive step, but this isn’t the beginning, it’s a continuation of what we’ve already been doing,” Dr. Chatters said. “The next step for us is to operationalize what’s been put forth. When we address the elements in the resolution, we will be a better campus and community. We will do a full audit of ourselves as an institution to recognize where some of our policies and procedures may need to be changed to better align with the resolution.”
For those changes to be made, Dr. Chatters knows it will take the efforts of everyone on campus and in the Fremont community. “It’s up to our entire Midland community to do this work,” Dr. Chatters said. “First and foremost, we need to do what we can to make students feel comfortable. Our duty is to make sure that students feel like they belong regardless of what they look like or the cultural background they may have.”
The leadership from the Board of Directors in providing guidance for the university has been a critical component as Midland continues to strive and grow in building a community of inclusivity. “At this moment, we are seeing so much happening across the country and it makes me proud to be part of an institution that has a board that felt this was an important step,” Dr. Chatters said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, but in the midst of all that, our board showed that equity and inclusion are still and always will be exceptionally important.”