Dear Marymount Community,
Marymount wants to be part of the solution to the racism that is plaguing our country, and real solutions begin with dialogue.
As President and in collaboration with our VP for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion and the Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council (IEAC), we invite students, faculty, staff, board members and friends of the University to participate in a focused effort, titled, “Real Talk and Courageous Conversations at Marymount.” The events, outlined below, are the first in a series of discussions to enable all of our community members to spend more time listening, learning and getting to know each other in more meaningful ways so that we can be better prepared to foster an atmosphere of belonging, respect and substantive change at Marymount.
The dialogues include two components:
1. “Real Talk and Courageous Conversations” are facilitated, one-hour sessions for several groups of 10 to 20 participants each, happening simultaneously. These sessions are safe spaces for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to speak honestly and listen to each other, while also discussing the current state of events through life experiences of participants in order to explore possible solutions. These dialogues are meant to inform our action plan to create a healthier climate of inclusion for all members of our community. Sessions will be led by the IEAC, Human Resources, various University leaders and the President’s Office. The first conversation happened last night, when I was joined by Dr. Bisset (VP for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs), a group of current students, recent graduates and other alumni.
2. A fireside chat to unveil the resulting action plan, featuring leaders from Marymount University as well as community leaders. Panelists will outline a variety of issues and steps we plan to take related to racial equality and inclusion that are especially relevant during this moment of transition in our communities.
In my conversations with many of you, it has become clear to me that we have not communicated a number of important actions that the University has already taken in this respect.
1. The IEAC is a key initiative of the University’s Strategic Plan, Momentum.
2. The Student Government President, Daniella Alexander, is an official member of the Board of Trustees as of February, when the new Board bylaws were approved.
3. We have been working to diversify the Board of Trustees, with three trustees of color as of last year – there were none prior.
Over the last year, the IEAC has provided great insights into how we can address some longstanding issues at the University. I have asked Brooke Berry (Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion) to oversee the Council’s proposal and generate a working plan with specific dates for completion. The Council plan will be available on the website, and it will be updated as tasks are completed. I know there are significant opportunities for us to improve our climate of inclusion. I’m committed to making significant changes to accomplish our goals.
I encourage you to join both the dialogue sessions and the fireside chat, support Marymount’s commitment and be a part of the solution. Please be on the lookout for a forthcoming email from the IEAC for specific details on dates and times for the conversations and fireside chat. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Brooke Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your commitment to diversity and inclusion here at Marymount – with your efforts, we will emerge stronger together and become a beacon of hope for racial equity and inclusion.
Be safe and healthy, and God bless,
Irma Becerra, Ph.D.