Diversity, equity and inclusion work requires that we attend to multiple dimensions of time. We must work together to form a compelling vision for the future, strive to be congruent in our present and attend to the impact and influence of our history. If we imagine this work as a housing renovation, we need designs for what our house can become, to make sure we are caring for the house we have, and also to inspect for flaws and defects in our house’s construction and foundation. Redressing past and present inequities requires that we address the problematic histories our community is built on. Coats of paint and new additions will not fix cracks in our foundation. Without addressing these core issues, old and new problems will continue to emerge.
At Oregon State, redressing inequity may look like an instructor examining curriculum to discern if the stories and contributions of women, people of color and queer folk are represented, and further revising courses to meaningfully engage students in lessons that are often absent in K-20 education. It may also look like a health and wellness provider learning how histories of discrimination related to the services they provide, have inhibited access to essential resources for communities of color, and then working with those communities to deliberate and restore relationships.
Individually, learning in this dimension may look like increasing your understanding of issues related to difference, power and discrimination. It may result in an increased capacity to remain in difficult conversations and wrestle with complex ethical quandaries. It may also result in a greater sense of responsibility and motivation to organize for positive and sustainable change. As a community, when we learn together, we may become a more equitable university where more members of our community achieve access, belonging and success.