A Welcoming EnvironmentODI Green DayIn front of the library

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Latest Letter From the Director

Hello Hatters,

Our great leader John Lewis once said, "What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and its grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible."

We stand united. We’re repeating the harvest that was promised to us. We’re taking back what was stolen from us. We shall rejoice today and recover it all. We will unite against hate. We will unite against violence. We will unite! Unite! Unite! As I mentioned in my previous letter, the puzzle pieces have fallen into place and we will walk into the streaming light and honor the university’s mission and values. We are all responsible for keeping our community together and staying strong in our love as Hatters. We have entrusted our country to an individual who holds the presidential medal of honor. Someone who is humbled by the trust in which many of us have bestowed upon him. And…someone who he has chosen someone who he trusts to lead by his side. As someone who looks like many of us.

What does it mean to unite, to include, to come together? Our fearless civil rights leader, Stacy Abrams reminds us that “We must use words to uplift and include. We can use our words to fight back against oppression and hate. But we must also channel our words into action.”

As we watch Americans dance and celebrate in the streets in Washington D.C., around our country and around our world, we see a reaction that mirrors our mission at Stetson University. We promise to provide an excellent education in a creative community where learning and values meet, and to foster in students the qualities of mind and heart that will prepare them to reach their full potential as informed citizens of local communities and the world.

Our university promises to uphold the qualities of mind and heart. Mind and heart…What is the true meaning of the word university? A university is not simply a place of higher learning, but rather a community of curious minds and, yes….hearts. Hearts seeking more understanding of the truth. The truth of kindness and unity.

Vice President Elect, Kamala Harris’ mother once said to her, “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last.” To every single woman of color please know you are not alone. You are represented. You are leadership. You embody the power of our ancestors who bore the brunt of brutality, violence and pain to ensure you may also be the first, but definitely, not the last. You too are in the White House.

“No fundamental social change occurs merely because government acts. It's because civil society, the conscience of a country, begins to rise up and demand - demand - demand change.” – President Elect, Joe Biden

In Solidary,

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 — comprising of nine 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