Message from Chief of Staff & Vice President Bernal

Dear Laker Community,

My journey to Grand Valley State University was guided by a deep-rooted passion for transforming systemic inequities alongside dedicated students, faculty, and staff. These experiences have shaped my life and inspired my career in public higher education. Now, as part of the Grand Valley community for more than nine years, I feel a profound sense of alignment as we collectively embrace our role as a leader in urgently advancing a culture of educational equity.

We firmly believe that centering equity and inclusion enriches our lives and strengthens our collective ability to remove barriers and eliminate disparities historically affecting students based on color, race, socioeconomic status, sex/gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. As a university where people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and identities come together to live, learn, and work, we open doors to endless opportunities for growth and advancement.

Your presence in our community is a testament to the rich tapestry that defines Grand Valley. Each one of you brings unique contributions essential to our success. Let us foster an environment where challenging dialogue and mutual curiosity flourish. Our culture of continuous improvement is anchored by policies, initiatives, and resources designed for institutional accountability and individual support.

This includes our commitment to equity and civil rights compliance, which remain steadfast in all work and learning modalities. Should you have any concerns about sexual and gender-based harassment or other forms of harassment or require accommodations for a disability, you are welcome to contact any of your campus partners and support personnel. We will provide information, guidance, and other resources to address your concerns.

Your voices and experiences matter, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to create a university where every individual can be their authentic self proudly and safely. 

Very sincerely,

Jesse M. Bernal, Ph.D.
Chief of Staff to the President
Vice President for Inclusion and Equity

Page last modified July 31, 2023