Message from the President

President’s statement on diversity and inclusion

Being a lifelong learner is one of the fundamental attributes that a Monmouth education helps our students to develop. Rooted in our mission, in the work our caring community carries out each day, is the charge to empower students to realize their full potential, live meaningful lives, pursue successful careers, and shape their communities and the world through service and leadership.

Through that work our entire campus community is challenged to understand their responsibilities to society. Monmouth College continues to learn and grow, just as we challenge and empower our students to do. Valuing that thirst for knowledge, Monmouth is committed to fostering diversity in our curriculum, our community, and beyond, committing ourselves to confronting injustice and building more equitable and inclusive practices, policies, and systems.

Monmouth College is committed, I am committed, to affect change for not just the equality, but the equity of all students we serve.

I pride myself in a strong desire to remain a lifelong learner. I have studied American history as long as I can remember, and I taught it for many years. I have done so because I love this country. To love this country is to celebrate its promise, but to love America is also to identify, and work to correct, its shortcomings in meeting that promise for all Americans. To do so is a fundamental American value of equal justice under law. It is the fundamental human value of treating others as we would wish to be treated.

Nearly 60 years ago, President John F. Kennedy called on white Americans to recognize and act upon the injustice of racism and segregation. He said: “The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark … cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place?”

The answer to these questions — now, as then — is, of course, none of us. And though President Kennedy’s words addressed greater civil rights for Black Americans, his words apply to all Americans who have yet to achieve the full promise of citizenship.

And because none of us would make that choice, all of us share the obligation of righting these wrongs.

Monmouth College is committed, I am committed, to affect change for not just the equality, but the equity of all students we serve. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has put out the first iteration of its strategic plan. I hope members of our Monmouth family will review it, offer insights, and help us to achieve and to hold us accountable for our outcomes. I appreciate the ideas that have been shared, for it is through the discussion and development of concrete ideas that we will make progress.

Therefore, I urge all of us to commit to more rapidly move Monmouth to become a college where all students have a similar sense of belonging, and where historically underrepresented groups not only are welcomed and respected, but feel equally valued and cherished. I encourage all to look for opportunities to listen and learn from the experiences of each other.

Beyond how we conduct ourselves in our personal lives, one of the instruments most readily available to us to effect positive change is Monmouth College. It is an imperfect instrument, because all of us who care for it are imperfect. But our efforts will be conducted with greater energy and urgency.

Just as every American should feel that they truly belong in this country, so each member of the Monmouth College community should feel that same sense of belonging as a Noble Fighting Scot. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees will work together to address these issues and move the College forward as an instrument of positive change. That is our task and our reward. I ask all who love Monmouth College to join in this work, with open minds and open hearts.

With appreciation,

— Clarence R. Wyatt
President

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group

Regina Johnson, Co-Chair
Jennifer Thorndike-Gonzales, Co-Chair
Roger Haynes
Hannah Maher
Michelle Merritt
Dan Ott
Tim Pahel
Trudi Peterson
Mark Willhardt