On March 19th with the return of Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington to campus to deliver the annual Reeb Lecture, The Collective for Change on the Hill, President David Anderson, the summer Task Force on Institutional Racism, the Working Group, and Rev. Dr. Washington met to continue the conversation we started on February 23rd.
Following our first meeting, it became clear to us that there has been some confusion on the part of the Working Group as to what we mean when we say we want to address institutional racism, as it appears that their main focus has been on finding ways in which to enact campus-wide change through addressing campus culture.
After this last meeting, we hope that our conversation has helped some come to understand our position, as well as understand that current campus culture should not only be changed but challenged, in order to trace the issues we see to their roots to be addressed head-on to create a better St. Olaf for people of color on campus.
Posted here is the Update published by the Working Group on 4/21/18.
"Dear St. Olaf Community,
Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington returned to campus Monday and Tuesday to meet with the Working Group and speak to the broader campus community.
On Monday, Dr. Washington spoke at chapel in the morning and as the 2018 James Reeb Memorial Speaker in the afternoon. His lecture “Social Justice 2018: The Work Continues …” centered on the idea of building an institution’s capacity to engage injustice and create more inclusive, equitable communities. We encourage you to watch the lectures linked above.
Dr. Washington then facilitated a second conversation with members of the Working Group, the Collective, the Task Force, and President Anderson. The goal of the conversation was to continue to have authentic, open conversations with the students and faculty/staff members who initially brought these issues forward. We are grateful for their leadership in elevating issues of racism, diversity, and inclusion to the highest level at the college.
On Tuesday, the Working Group met to discuss our initial recommendations for our report. Our recommendations are focused on providing greater accountability, intentionality, alignment, and sustainability for work in equity and inclusion across the college. We began considering recommendations in the areas of access and inclusion, climate and community, scholarship and learning, institutional commitment, and sustainability.
We look forward to further engaging with the community on recommendations in these strategy areas, including participating in a student forum the first week in April. Details will be shared as soon as they are available.
Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion"