Regarding the LGBTQ Communities and Allies
Yesterday afternoon I was delighted to host the Chancellor’s Annual LGBTQ faculty, staff, and student reception. Officially, the program was my opportunity to say “welcome to the greater Rutgers University-Newark community.” But it was also a time for newcomers to our campus to meet one another, and for established members of our LGBTQ communities and their allies to gather and welcome the newcomers into our campus community.
Some of you undoubtedly already know one of our points of pride at Rutgers University –Newark: We are the most diverse national university in America, according to U.S. News & World Report. It is a distinction we have held for the past 15 years, since U.S. News first began measuring diversity.
The U.S. News ranking concentrates on the ethnic richness of our student body, and we take pleasure in the fact that the diversity of this campus also extends far beyond ethnicity. Rutgers-Newark is a dynamic campus and a rich mix of communities, from international students, to veterans, to our LGBTQ communities, just to name a few.
During recent years our deans have strived to increase the diversity of our faculty through the hiring process to more closely reflect our diverse student body; of relevance to yesterday’s event, as dean, I supported the hiring of several faculty members with scholarship in subjects of particular interest to the LGBTQ communities.
We continue to work in other ways to make this campus as welcoming and vibrant as it can be for all of our students, faculty and staff. For instance, the Queer Newark Oral History Project is being coordinated by Dr. Beryl Satter. Our campus now has an LGBTQ Studies Minor, housed in the Women and Gender Studies Program under the guidance of Dr. Belinda Edmonson. And, our campus LGBTQ & Diversity Resource Center is celebrating its first anniversary. The Diversity Center, under the leadership of Maren Greathouse, has engaged in such initiatives as a mentorship program, as well as serving as a host for the upcoming Diversity Conference that will be held next semester.
Achieving a truly welcoming campus for all our students is an on-going responsibility we all share, faculty, staff, and students. We are not perfect where we stand today, and we must strive to be even better tomorrow. Therefore I ask all of us to rededicate ourselves to this noble goal and do our best, on an every-day basis with whomever we meet, to make our campus the example others should follow in welcoming all our communities into our midst.
Thank you, and again, welcome to Rutgers-Newark!