Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to update you on where we are in terms of moving forward on specific proposals to better support our LGBTQ community following recent events and the ensuing forums and conversations.
The past couple of weeks have been an opportunity for me to listen and learn, first and foremost, from our LGBTQ students as to how the university can better support their needs and address their concerns. From the meetings I have had and the suggestions I have received, I am convinced we can and need to do better to make sure all of our LGBTQ students feel welcome, safe and a full sense of belonging.
I am grateful in particular for the dialogue I have begun to engage in with LGBTQ students and their allies, including the Triangle Club and members of other student groups. It has been of great benefit to me to hear directly from them about their lived experiences both at Seattle U and prior to arriving here.
I very much welcome the way in which students, faculty and staff are focusing on the changes and action steps that can move us forward in support of our LGBTQ students and broader LGBTQ community.
We must now begin developing a plan for acting on the ideas and initiatives that have been and will be shared. I have asked Alvin Sturdivant, vice president for Student Development, and Natasha Martin, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, to take a lead role in helping to put a task force in place that can develop the way forward by which the university can consider proposals and act on them accordingly.
The task force will need to be inclusive and make sure the voices of our LGBTQ students are central in its work. LGBTQ student leaders, other student leaders and the Academic Assembly will need to be involved in its formation. I am asking the task force to complete its work in a timely manner so that decisions may be made by the end of this calendar year.
While some good progress has been made in recent years toward our shared goal of inclusive excellence, there is much important work that remains to be done. I am hopeful and confident that by working together and keeping the focus on our core value of caring for the whole person and putting the good of our students—all of our students—first that we will get there.
We are a better and stronger community and university because of the many contributions of our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff. I look forward to sharing further updates with you as the task force comes together and begins its work.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.