by GRACE HILSCHER
The leaves on campus are not the only thing changing. This autumn Drake University’s Equity and Inclusion webpage is being revamped. The new webpage contains an abundance of information on Drake’s history, as well as the direction they are heading.
Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion, Dr Erin Lain, says her hope for the new webpage “is to provide [the] community with a portal of information about our past, our present and our future in terms of equity and inclusion.” She goes on to say how the new webpage “is a place where faculty, staff and students can go to get resources and find out how to get involved to make our campus a more equitable and inclusive environment.”
Anyone can go onto the new webpage, and by clicking on the History tab they can learn about Drake’s specific historical challenges and accomplishments regarding equity and inclusion. There are also Who are We, Initiatives & Programs, and Get Involved tabs.
The basic definition of equity is the quality of being fair. The surface-level definition of inclusion is the act of accepting something or someone. The work of the Equity and Inclusion department goes far beyond just welcoming members of the Drake community and making things fair. Their work is a continual effort to rectify past and present injustices while breaking down systems that only serve some and not others.
The work being done by the Equity and Inclusion office is not new work. There have been many initiatives and programs that have been implemented and in the work. However, before the events on campus last Autumn there was not a lot of publicity over what was being done in terms of equity and inclusion on campus.
The momentum caused by #PaintItBlack movement, the Do Better campaign, and other calls to action last Autumn, was the driving force to create a new webpage. A webpage that clearly tells what the Equity and Inclusion office is, and what they are doing.
Tony Tyler, the Assistant Dean of Students, as well as a Professor teaching a course over #PaintItBlack to first-year students, is part of the team who is responsible for the new webpage. Tyler explains how “the work that is expressed on the website is affecting [students’] daily lives whether they no it or not.” The ability to be “proficient, and even excellent at diversity, equity, and inclusion, is going to affect [students’] classroom experience, working in small groups, engaging in classroom discussions, and also affect [their] future work as a professional.”
Tyler emphasizes how “there is no final endpoint in terms of a culture or community that engages equity and inclusion. We don’t reach a goal or get a checkbox to mark off.” With that being said his goal is to “continue to develop a community that is willing to continue to engage in the practice of equity and inclusion.” It is a journey that he hopes our community will go on together willingly and enthusiastically.
To learn more about Drake’s Equity and Inclusion journey, as well as different resources, and ways to get involved you can visit https://www.drake.edu/diversity/