Written by the tutors of the Writing Center, Fall 2017 (updated, Spring 2021)
Stetson University’s Writing Center serves as an integral academic institution within Stetson, and proudly denounces all racist and discriminatory behaviors on and off-campus. We are committed to establishing and reinforcing a safe, educational space for all students that encourages, rather than stifles, diversity.
Therefore, the Writing Center strives to provide an inclusive, accessible, and supportive environment where students are encouraged to strengthen their writing skills, their individual writing processes, and their ability to communicate through writing. We understand the intersectional relationship between writing and identity. With this, we also acknowledge the reality that structural racism is a prevailing problem in academia, and we are working on evaluating our implicit biases in the work we do.
We understand that part of antiracism involves conscious self-reflection on one’s beliefs, truths, and ideas, as well as critical understanding of other races and cultures. With this understanding, we are committed to anti-discriminatory action, as these direct behaviors are essential to dismantling all forms of social injustice. Our tutors, while representing the spectrum of human identities, differences, and lived experiences, understand that no one is without implicit bias and that the work of the group alone does not eliminate the structural injustices framing the institution. Thus, we actively employ practices that meet students where they are, regardless of their educational or cultural background.
The Writing Center is against the overt and covert internalized racist attitudes which seek to minimize and ostracize the beliefs and traditions of other cultures. We acknowledge and understand that linguistic norms expected in academia have systemically been rooted in whiteness and maleness; thus, our efforts seek to combat linguistic prejudice by revealing it. As both members and employees of this community, it is our responsibility to work against the implicit biases that exist in a PWI (Predominately White Institution) such as Stetson University and within ourselves. We are committed to nourishing the many ways language is used in writing across cultures with the intent to create a safe space for dialectical diversity, while also understanding that our students are working within the confines of Standard American English in many of their classes.
Without the unique role that peer tutors have as intermediaries between professors and students, the Writing Center would not exist. The role of the peer tutor is to create a positive atmosphere and to facilitate collaborative educational experiences at any stage of the writing process. We come from a variety of academic backgrounds and are trained to support writing across disciplines. Strategies used in sessions will foster the growth of the writer by prioritizing learning over grades. To this end, the Writing Center will provide:
- An encouraging environment where students will be asked to think critically and set goals.
- An adaptable and accessible physical space.
- Adaptable, flexible, and respectful approaches to student identities and needs.
- Tutoring practices that reflect an awareness of the intersectional nature of identities and oppression.
- Support for ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) students and providing outreach via Stetson WORLD.
- Recognition and utilization of our privilege in order to uplift students and faculty that walk in and out of our door, while establishing practices that diminish the presence of this privilege.
- Collaboration with the university’s Honor Council to offer workshops that focus on more thorough explanations of writing styles, with an emphasis on academic integrity.
- Employing a diverse staff of tutors and voices within our Writing Center.
- Encouraging and supporting students to maintain control of their writing by allowing them to lead the session and have continuous input in the tutoring process.
Our commitment to achieving a more inclusive and accessible Writing Center stems from our belief in the interconnectedness of humanity, in all its diversity. We will continuously work to educate ourselves and others to be more culturally and socially aware. By doing so, it’s our hope that students will be empowered to unleash their true selves, not just in their academic careers, but for life outside Stetson.