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President Barron Presents New Inclusivity Initiatives

Penn State President Eric Barron messaged the Penn State community Monday afternoon to highlight initiatives to promote the image of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the university.

Stemming from the “Zoom-bombings” that have reared their ugly heads recently among Penn State’s community, Barron is aiming to create positive and sustained change in the school’s community.

Barron acknowledged that steps have been taken in the right direction, alluding to revised language in the Student Code of Conduct that was implemented last semester. At the same time, he recognizes that Penn State as a community is nowhere near its goal.

Barron called upon well-respected members of the Penn State community to help, as he believes that the change needs to be sparked and driven by the people who it directly impacts, and not the administration itself. He proposed a set of initiatives that he believes support the vision of a more diversified and welcoming Penn State community.

The initiatives state:

“Move to an enterprise approach to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Penn State plans to complete a full inventory of the university’s investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and for staff to create a Chief Diversity Officer position to report to the president and develop a stronger system of accountability.

Create greater commitment to recruitment, onboarding, mentoring and building community.”

The Chief Diversity Officer will “address the challenges in recruitment with an added focus on accountability.” Penn State will invest in an onboarding and mentoring program and proposes to form a task group to “design the best practices for onboarding and mentoring.”

Advance in key areas that align with the educational and research mission of the University.”

Penn State plans to establish a center dedicated to “anti-racist, anti-bias pedagogy and scholarly research,” with the funds coming from the university administration itself.

Additionally, moving forward, Penn State will render diversity, equity, and inclusion as an essential element of education. Along with that, the university will explore Penn State’s history, “learn through a scholarly analysis of past practices in teaching, research and service” and spark a more positive and productive future.

Barron concluded his message by saying this he believes in the promise of the Penn State community and that this is only the beginning.

“We take these next steps with purpose and conviction, knowing that addressing these critical issues and creating positive change will require our collective persistence and focus,” Barron said.

Before his planned retirement in June 2022, Barron will likely seek to motivate the members of the community to work together to reach its maximum potential in terms of being diverse, equitable, and entirely inclusive.

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