06/16/2020: A Message from the Chancellor – introducing the South University Council for Diversity and Inclusion>
When we speak about "diversity," it includes race, ethnicity, gender, religion, cultural background, national origin, and more. South University’s staff, faculty and students are vastly diverse yet united in a mosaic of service to our communities, the advancement of learning, and supporting one another’s achievement of life goals. I deeply believe one of the most important benefits of South University’s diverse human mosaic is that collectively, it makes possible a greater understanding than what is knowable by any individual on their own.
Yet, this moment brings forward a new and urgent opportunity for each of us to sow the seeds of change if we are to truly experience the growth of equality and equity represented in the mosaic described above. We must individually renew our responsibility to practice the “golden rule” every day.
In 2016, President Obama said, “I know that there’s some who have criticized even the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ as if the notion is as if other lives don’t matter…‘Black Lives Matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African-Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability …” Today, Black Lives Matter touches each one serving in the South University mosaic.
Because you matter, we are taking swift action to improve equity, diversity and inclusivity at South University. Below are 5 action steps occurring now and in the near-term:
- Today I am announcing the immediate authorization for the South University Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).
- Develop a clear understanding of student, staff, faculty and alumni opinions related to diversity, equity and inclusion within South University;
- Create goals and action plans to achieve diversity, inclusion and equity in alignment with the South University mission and vision;
- Implement programs that improve diversity, equity and inclusion among the University community.
The purpose of the CDI will be to:
Thank you for all you do to advance the values of diversity, inclusion and equity at South University as we serve our students and each other!
Steven K. Yoho, PhD
06/10/2020: Updated Action Plan
Last week I sent a message about my hope to continue to improve our work together to “believe, belong and become” as we learn and grow, without prejudice. Thank you for the follow up that we received and the questions from many of you who are asking what is next. We are working with our campus leadership teams to determine what is needed to support our University community.
We want to ask more questions and to bring the attention to what is needed for real change within our University.
I also shared my desire last week with you to, “…ensure that we are equipping students, faculty, and staff with the tools needed to effectively progress and support this pivotal time in our society. We will work to reexamine the resources needed to foster an institutional culture that is reflective of our mission and value each one within our community.”
The first step that I would like to start with is to learn from all of you what is needed and how it will be accomplished and how to measure our goals.
South University will immediately establish a working group, to receive recommendations for setting and accomplishing goals for our university community.
First, each campus will bring together a team to affect change, which will include students, faculty and staff to engage in a focused conversation. From there, the campus teams will share recommendations with the working group to identify themes and develop ways to address them.
At that time, I will share updates and our action plan with you and the University resources needed to create the change we need. This process is important; it is a priority for both myself and the institution, to get this right and make a difference.
Thanks for reading this message and joining with us in spirit and action as we continue to seize this moment together.
Steven K. Yoho, PhD
06/02/2020: To South University students, faculty and staff,
As we see the struggle across our country, it weighs on me that many within our communities are not okay. What makes our South University community stand apart from others, is that together we aspire for students and employees to feel that our university is a place where one can “believe, belong and become” and grow, without prejudice.
Within the first few words of the South University mission statement, we describe the University community as "diverse". While this distinction comes easily to us with the natural make up of our student body, we acknowledge that there is still more work necessary to unite us, as one community.
As our mission begins, “South University is an academic institution dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the intellectual, social, and professional development of a diverse student population…” it is my aspiration that we will continue to improve against this missional mandate as we continue to evolve as an institution.
We will ensure that we are equipping students, faculty, and staff with the tools needed to effectively progress and support this pivotal time in our society. We will work to reexamine the resources needed to foster an institutional culture that is reflective of our mission and value each one within our community.
In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged the “interrelatedness of all communities and states,” noting that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Let us turn our anger into action, demanding justice where there is injustice, peace where there is violence, and love where there is hate. Let the suffocation of this moment be the impetus for change."
Together, let us join our voices and our actions to seize this moment to stop the prejudice and discrimination of what makes us different and aspire to celebrate what makes each of us unique.
Steven K. Yoho, PhD