A Welcoming EnvironmentODI Green DayIn front of the library

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Latest Letter From the Director

Hello Hatters,

Our community has been rocked with chaos recently over the most recent controversy regarding a staff member’s egregious racist social media post image that was shared broadly to many student activists on campus who are committed to diversity and inclusion. We understand that this image coupled with the pain that many of us are feeling with the outcome of the grand jury not charging any of the Louisville, KY police officers with killing Breonna Taylor in her apartment is especially difficult.

ODI has always acknowledged the unequal burden that our communities of color face while striving to excel at Stetson while battling bias, discrimination, isolation, and legacies of racial trauma. We stand with students confirming that our beloved university must do better to create a climate where students of color are safe, respected, heard, and valued.

ODI has always acknowledged that silence and inaction contribute to the maintenance of ongoing institutional racism and other structural inequalities. Therefore, we are overwhelmed with pride of the message from President Chris Roellke on Friday evening. We appreciate not only his swift response, but his straight forward, open and honest account of the social media image in which was posted. We appreciate that he respectfully responded to students’ requests of an attempt at reconciliation and healing for the entire community of Hatters and our families. We appreciate President Roellke’s apology and commitment to being an agent of change in our community. His admiration for our strength and hard work to keep each other uplifted in our everyday life, but especially when we are presented and challenged with shocking images of racism such as this particular social media post.

ODI trusts that moving forward during the forthcoming series of virtual meetings that will be open to Hatters will be yet another opportunity to share stories of activism, strength, perseverance; even in the face of racism and prejudice of all kinds we’ve experienced at Stetson and in DeLand. We encourage everyone to participate and share not only your experiences, but creative and thoughtful changes we can make in the future; much like the 12 Demands presented to the University in 1970 by the Stetson African American Society.

We can overcome any challenge together because we embody a community of strength and pride. ODI encourages everyone to stay strong, stay together and stay Hatters!

All My Best,

Joanne Harris-Duff

Director Office of Diversity and Inclusion, jharrisduff@stetson.edu

About the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The primary mission of the Office Diversity and Inclusion is to educate our campus community on issues relating to social identity development— in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic status and ability — and how those factors can impact one's college experience. Through compassionate education, our office is invested in partnering with various offices, departments and student groups to provide programs, training and workshops to further inclusive excellence on our campus.

Housed in the Cross-Cultural Center, or the Tri-C, our office is a safe space open to all university students, faculty and staff. We are home to the:

  • Multicultural Student Council (MSC) — comprising of 9 student organizations and a student-led executive board
  • WISE Program — facilitating academic fortitude, social awareness, and financial growth through mentoring underrepresented student populations
  • Gender and Sexuality Resources — educating and developing awareness for LGBTQ+ identities through Safe Zone training and the Gender and Sexuality Diversity Conference hosted with the Department of Counselor Education at Stetson University