Message from Vice President Bernal
October 11, 2017
Dear Laker Community:
While the national climate is tense and we continue to witness incidents of hate, bigotry, and violence across the country, Grand Valley will continue to affirm our values for inclusion and equity. But more than just issuing statements, we seek to be a campus focused on actively addressing inequities and creating a community where civil dialogue and respect, even when we disagree, are commonplace and where safety and well- being are top priorities. I remain confident that Grand Valley is well positioned to address any challenge that may be ahead of us.
Nearly ten years ago, President Haas made an intentional decision to institutionalize our community values through the creation of the Division of Inclusion and Equity. While systemic inequities are not always under the university's direct control, Grand Valley has worked concertedly to be the best place for the success of all students. We are also mission-driven in our pursuits to transform society through our engagement with the next generation of leaders.
These efforts are foundational to who we are as a community and a cornerstone of our curriculum. As an institution where people of all identities come together to live, learn, and work, we recognize the responsibility we have to speak up against attempts to divide people based on difference. We remain committed to creating an environment where everyone can be their full authentic selves, and where your Laker Effect-- our collective impact on the campus, West Michigan, the state, and beyond-- can be fully realized by every single member of our community.
We have set a high bar for our work to advance inclusion and equity-- that we will be the national model in higher education. My hope, in our witnessing behaviors that are contradictory to our values in the news or on our social media feeds, is that the stark reality of what we see will open the eyes and hearts of those who may resist acknowledging the impact of bigotry, and motivate those of us committed to eliminating inequities to redouble our efforts. I hope you will all join me, and the rest of the Grand Valley community, in continuing to move us toward this goal.
Jesse M. Bernal, Ph.D.
Vice President for Inclusion and Equity