The Kind of Community We Should Be

To Our Students: 

The events of the past several months have prompted profound reflection for many of us. From the disruption of stay-at-home orders to the dangers of the disease that prompted them, people have had more time and reason to evaluate their lives, organizations, and communities of all sizes.

As we prepare for the fall semester, we have prioritized health and safety, and the quality of students’ academic experience. But we also have thought carefully about the kind of community Case Western Reserve should strive to be. The university’s spring Day of Dialogue highlighted issues involving race on and beyond our campus. Other settings—including social media posts that we have read—have expressed concerns regarding behaviors and actions involving gender, sexual misconduct, LGBTQ+ populations, mental health, individuals with disabilities and more.

While the topics are diverse, they share common themes. Among the most prominent is one of the most fundamental: As much progress as we have made around these and other issues, we have not yet fully become the kind of welcoming and inclusive community we can and should be.

In response, we are creating a task force of students, staff and faculty whose charge will be to examine the policies, practices and initiatives necessary to achieve a true culture of respect among all of our students. The activities and outcomes of this task force will be in addition to the campus-wide efforts emerging later this summer from the Day of Dialogue, as well as the work of the university’s standing committees and councils.

In light of some of the distinct aspects of the areas the task force hopes to address, we expect to have subcommittees that task force members lead with individuals not on the broader task force itself. This approach not only allows people with unique expertise and interests to contribute, but also has the potential to increase the task force’s overall speed and effectiveness. 

The two of us will chair the task force. If you would like to serve on it or a subcommittee, please complete this form by 6 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 26. We look forward to announcing the full task force in the near future, and identifying subcommittees and their membership early in the fall semester.

Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs

Robert Solomon
Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity