This week, the Bradley University search committee refined their criteria for the inaugural position of Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to help handle the campus’ affairs.
Over the past two years, Bradley’s campus, as well as its alumni, prospective students and the greater Peoria area, have had their eyes on the university. After Black Lives Matter protests erupted over the unjust murder of George Floyd, many began asking what Bradley was doing to ensure equity and inclusion on campus.
Bradley’s answer came in the form of a renovation for the Garrett Center — home of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion — scholarships for students from District 150 schools and a promise to continue pursuing equity on campus.
As of today, Bradley has made good on two of the aforementioned promises. But the pursuit of equity is an ongoing endeavor, and one that cannot be taken lightly.
At the meeting by the search committee on Oct. 4, many students from marginalized groups raised concerns about equality on campus.
Issues raised included concerns over hate speech, a lack of accommodations for students of color facing discrimination from roomates and the poor positioning of the gender neutral floor in Wyckoff Hall, where LGBTQ+ students experience scrutiny from other residents of the hall.
In addition to these issues, there are many that went unspoken at the meeting, such as the handicap-inaccessible nature of the Garrett Center itself, the sexism many women in STEM have experienced and a lack of awareness about the intersectionality of race, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability.
Again, these issues must be something this campus continues to improve upon. Both staff and students need to be held accountable for their actions when it comes to keeping Bradley a safe place where students of diverse backgrounds can flourish.
It is not enough to merely pursue equality when injustice is apparent; we must also continue this pursuit on the day-to-day level.
As a campus, we can help contribute to an inclusive environment by listening to the needs of students of color and students within the LGBTQ+ community, uplifting their voices and voicing any concerns to administration.