On May 1st, as per their charge, the Working Group released their “Report to the Community” outlining their recommendations to the college.
- With this update, the community has the chance to submit their thoughts, comments, or suggestions on the recommendations through a feedback forum, which will be open until May 15th.
- On the same day, President David Anderson sent out an email regarding the Working Group’s release of their update, announcing that he and his leadership team will be reviewing the recommendations as well as the comments on the forum.
On May 2nd, The Collective, in collaboration with STAR (SGA Task Force on Anti-Racism), held an event titled “One Year Later: What Now?” to reflect on where the movement for change started with the events of last school year, and what is still left to be done.
- At the event, an alum of St. Olaf informed students of the efforts that a group of dedicated alumni are undertaking in order to provide support for the Race and Ethnic Studies Program on campus.
- Professor Joan Hepburn gave an update as to an open letter regarding the Working Group and their recommendations that she has been working on, which can be read here.
- The Collective gave a rundown of our extensive timeline, which outlines the events of the 2016-17 school year that precipitated the creation of the Collective, as ell as documents the events of the 2017-18 school year. This timeline can be viewed here.
We ask that as many people as possible read the Working Group's recommendations and provide feedback on the form provided by the deadline, so that your voice and input are taken into account when President Anderson and his team decide on the next course of action.
The Collective is currently working on releasing our own remarks regarding the document, which will be posted as soon as possible.
Posted here is the latest update from the Working Group and the email from President Anderson:
Email from the Working Group 5/1/18
"Dear Members of the St. Olaf Community,
Over the past year, St. Olaf has been addressing issues of racism, bias, and exclusion on campus. Our Working Group on Equity and Inclusion has been a part of this process — listening to the community and developing recommendations to make St. Olaf a more inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.
We are pleased to submit our recommendations for long-term, effective, and sustainable solutions to create an inclusive campus culture at St. Olaf. You can read our full report here. This report is not intended to be the conclusive answer to racism, equity, and inclusion, but represents our best thinking given the current context. The work of equity and inclusion is ever-changing, and our recommendations suggest an approach that will allow St. Olaf to adapt and engage in new ideas, approaches, and mechanisms for our community’s worktoday and into the future.
The report has been released to President Anderson, the Board of Regents, and the St. Olaf community at the same time. We encourage you to provide your feedback directly to President Anderson and his leadership team. You can do so here.
We were humbled to chair the Working Group on Equity and Inclusion and are grateful to the members of the Working Group for their unwavering commitment to the process and their thoughtful input and perspectives. We also thank everyone in the community for their engagement with these issues.
The work of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus is complex, challenging, and nuanced. We hope that the recommendations outlined in this report help move St. Olaf beyond demographic diversity to true equity and inclusion.
Glenn Taylor '73 and Phil Milne '81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion"
Email from President David Anderson 5/1/18
"Dear Members of the St. Olaf Community,
Our college has been working to identify, acknowledge, and address policies and behaviors that stem from the systemic racism that lingers in American society and that results in an environment at St. Olaf that prevents our community from being consistently welcoming, inclusive, and equitable.
Eliminating the effects of racism requires not just changes in policies but also deep-seated changes in culture. Last fall I appointed a Working Group on Equity and Inclusion co-chaired by two members of the College’s Board of Regents, and with representation from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and experts from outside the College, to listen to the voices of our community and to examine what barriers there are to St. Olaf offering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. I asked them to complete that work by May 1, 2018, and to recommend actions the College should take to eliminate those barriers.
The Working Group has today released its report, which the Working Group has shared with you. You can read it here. The President's Leadership Team will be studying its findings and recommendations in the coming days, and I invite you to do the same. Your comments or suggestions about the Working Group's recommendations are welcome and encouraged. I invite you to submit them here by May 15.
I extend my deep appreciation to every member of the Working Group, as well as to everyone who came forward to share their experiences, ideas, and suggestions with them.
After the comment period closes on May 15 and I have completed my review of the report and consulted with others, I will be in touch again with information about the next steps we will take in response to the report's recommendations.
David R. Anderson '74"