Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dear Central family,

At Central we have a heart for others. This shared characteristic continues to be more important than ever.

This year we have focused on strengthening our efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion. One goal of the Building a Culture of Inclusion initiative has been to educate the campus community about inequities of all types so we may understand why these inequities persist and work together to overcome them.

Last week, eight people were murdered in Atlanta, including six people of Asian descent at a time when hate incidents against the Asian and Pacific Islander community have been growing nationwide.

In no uncertain terms, racism, prejudice and hate are wrong. I invite all of us in the Central community to serve as allies for those who walk a different path than our own. To be an ally is to unite oneself with another to promote a common interest. We can support our students, alumni, colleagues and friends of color. We can ensure everyone at Central is treated equitably, feels a sense of belonging and has the care they need to walk their journey. Being an ally is an important part of Central’s core values and philosophy of our welcome statement, which calls for diversity, equity and inclusion.

I ask all of us to reflect on our actions and request thoughtful communication and dialogue as our work unfolds. How can we uplift others, especially those who are marginalized? How can we support those in the Asian community so they feel seen and heard?

One way to begin is to join in a conversation being coordinated by two of our students, Yana Rouse ’21 and Marin Harrington ’21, who lead with love in all that they do. They are hosting an event titled “Central Identities: Dialogue Across Differences” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in Cox-Snow Recital Hall. The event will feature a panel of students of different social, cultural and political identities. The goal of the panel is to encourage healthy dialogue on campus as participants discuss how their identities have shaped their worldview and their Central experiences.

Thank you for your effort to ensure that Central remains a place that has a heart for others, with open arms and minds. While there is much work that needs to be done, showing up in all places with empathy and a willingness to listen can make a difference.



About the Author

Mark Putnam

I'm the lucky individual who carries the title, 21st president of Central College in Pella, Iowa. Passionate about higher education and the issues facing it and the world today, I hope to invoke an engaging conversation with all who are ready to dig in, make a difference and build for the future. Share your thoughts. I'm listening and interested.