Message on Diversity and Inclusion from President Lara Tiedens

Posted: September 1, 2016

Dear Scripps Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As an educator, I have long believed that education, especially higher education, has an important role to play in creating a more just society. From my very early conversations with members of the Scripps College community, it was evident that diversity and inclusion are highly valued here. This was one of the many attributes of Scripps that led me to want to join this community.

This summer provided ample evidence that, in this country and in many parts of the world, prejudice and discrimination still exist and lead to tragedy. Here at Scripps, we have a responsibility to challenge ourselves to produce a community that is closer to our own ideals and can serve as a model for others. I look forward to participating in the ongoing campus dialogue about diversity and inclusion at Scripps by hearing a range of lived experiences and perspectives of students, faculty, and staff. I hope that in sharing our experiences, we will be able to develop a learning environment that serves our entire community well, as Scripps continues to evolve.

Core to producing an inclusive environment, I believe, is the cultivation of curiosity. When we can approach difference with a desire to learn and understand, we grow as individuals, and we form a community in which we can thrive. To that end, I’m also excited to introduce the new IDEA ConverActions on the National Climate on Race, Community, and Change. ConverActions will incorporate public programs, community conversations, and civic engagement opportunities to stimulate participation in the IDEA initiative, cultivate an environment of awareness and understanding of experiences that differ from our own, and identify strategies for action and change.

This focus on fostering a climate that is both diverse and inclusive will continue to be a top priority for the senior team and me as we build on the progress made on the College’s Diversity and Inclusion commitments. I’d also like to acknowledge SCORE as a critical component of our mission relative to inclusive excellence, and to reinforce our commitment to enhance resources that counteract marginalization, support students, and build community. The College will increase resources to SCORE this year by elevating the two permanent staff positions, and the search for a new director will begin this fall.

I have already begun to collaborate with the presidents of the other Claremont colleges to support the academic and personal success of students of color and other groups on all seven campuses. We are jointly organizing a vigil early this semester reaffirming our commitment to work toward a more inclusive and supportive climate, details of which are forthcoming.

Because we are members of a community passionate about changing the world, we must seek to understand more than to be understood as we engage in the sensitive but critical conversations related to race, discrimination, and inequity. I promise to be a passionate advocate, a thoughtful leader, and a willing learner as we confront these complex issues together.

I look forward to meeting with many of you to discuss these and other issues over the course of this semester.

Sincerely,

Lara Tiedens
President

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