Since my arrival a couple of months ago, I have been encouraged by your support to expand the work of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE), your commitment to improve our educational and working environment, and your warmth and openness towards me and my family. With this encouragement in mind, I share my continued commitment to working with each of you to address our community’s concerns and to meet our aspirational goals.
At the beginning of this school year, we pledged to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority students, and to create new initiatives to recruit, retain and promote faculty of color across all academic disciplines. In just three short months, we are already making some progress. Still, as a community of people with varied backgrounds, perspectives and interests, we will, on occasion disagree on how to achieve these goals.
Regardless of the issue, I reaffirm my support for free expression rights of each and every member of our community and the various forms in which those rights may be exercised. However, we must remember that we all share the responsibility of maintaining open dialogue that will lead to productive solutions. In this spirit, I would like to extend an open invitation to all Tigers who wish to critically analyze issues facing our community and to proffer solutions. My door is always open, and I would be honored to meet with you.
In the coming weeks, IDE will engage the University in further evaluation of our progress towards our inclusive excellence goals, and in action planning – using the 2020 report from the American Council of Education as a starting point. Mizzou is still poised to be a place where everyone can and will succeed. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make it that place together.
Maurice D. Gipson
Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity