Monday Updates are intended to keep the campus informed about current and upcoming events, to follow up on questions you ask, and to address special situations as they arise.
Monday March 12, 2018
Admissions Office Move
Thanks to the hard work and good planning of so many people, the Admissions Office has moved from Fenner House to the sixth floor of Maytum Hall. This move brings together those who work to recruit students, welcome prospective students and families, process applications, and plan admissions events. The entire operation was moved with just a few minutes of phone lines not operating. The floor has a new look, and the planning team continues to work on making the spaces leading to Admissions more welcoming.
The Admissions welcome sessions and tours now are held in the Williams Center.
Thank you to everyone who worked to have this move go so smoothly: Vice President Cedric Howard, Associate Vice President Dan Tramuta, Admissions Director Cory Bezek, Director of Facilities Services Kevin Cloos, Chief Information Officer Steve Rieks, and all of their teams. To do this so well in a busy time for all is quite an accomplishment!
Best wishes to all for a Spring Break that lets you catch up, rest up, and prepare for the busy weeks ahead!
Monday March 5, 2018
Congratulations to Cedric Howard
Tomorrow at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in Philadelphia, Vice President Cedric Howard will receive the Scott Goodnight Award. This national award is given to a lead student affairs professional who is “collaborative, effective, and inspirational” in providing programs and services to students and in developing staff. Congratulations, Cedric, on this prestigious award!
Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm?
It was remarkable how quickly the snow fell last Thursday and Friday and how much it piled up. Thank you to all involved in the clean-up: many people helped dig out cars, clear parking lots and sidewalks, and shovel steps and entrances. When you walk around campus and in the community, you see that there is still much work to do in clearing downed branches and taking care of the damaged trees. This work will continue in the next week, and I’m grateful to the Facilities Services staff for all their efforts.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching
Congratulations to Laurie A. Tramuta, Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Music, for receiving the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. This award reflects her mastery of teaching, dedication to students, adherence to the highest academic standards, and continued professional achievement.
Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
Now that Fredonia’s campus nominations have been confirmed by the Chancellor’s Office, I’m pleased to announce that this year’s Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients are Zachary Jones, Brittany Sanford, and Kerri Williamson. Zachary is a French Adolescence Education major with minors in Spanish and European Culture Studies. Brittany is completing her studies as a Music Education major and active member of the percussion studio. Kerri, who graduated in December, double majored in Biology and Dance. All are outstanding students not only in their academics but in their service and leadership. Congratulations!
All-Gender Restrooms Update
In Mason, an all-gender restroom will open this week. Facilities Planning and Facilities Services will be working to ensure that each of the remaining buildings without all-gender restrooms will have these in place as soon as possible.
Fredonia’s Radio Station: Number One in the Nation . . . AGAIN!
Congratulations to everyone at WCVF for being named the Best College Radio Station in the entire nation for the second year in a row! Other honors at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Awards include Best College Station for under 10,000 students, Best On-Air Personality, Best Hockey Play-by-Play, Best Promotional Video, and Best News Director. Congratulations to everyone associated with the station, including the faculty and sponsors.
Preparing for Summer Orientation 2018
Fredonia’s SEM Plan (Tactic 5.1.c) identifies a need to re-imagine our current orientation programming and align it more intentionally with campus recruitment, retention, and growth mindset principles. In addition, new student enrollment growth has provided us the opportunity to think proactively about how to better support incoming students. Upon review of our current orientation activities, national best practices, and orientation models at peer institutions, Fredonia is moving this summer to a three-step transition process for all new undergraduate students. Details about each step are available by downloading this document: 2018-2019 Undergraduate Transition and Orientation Process. An Implementation Team, with campus wide representation, will communicate schedule information throughout the spring semester. Thank you to Erin Mroczka, Director of First-Year and Transition Programs, for her leadership in this effort and for providing this update.
Kudos to the hockey team who made us proud in the SUNYAC championship game at Geneseo on Saturday. Although we didn’t win this year, your work through the season was inspiring to watch. Kudos as well to those who brought transgender activist Chase Ross here last week for a talk on representation in the media and to those who welcomed Lorna C. Hill to campus for a presentation based on her work as the founder and Executive Director of Ujima Company, Inc., the oldest professional repertory theatre company in Western New York. Kudos to all members of the Wind Symphony who performed on Wednesday, and the All-College Band, who performed as the snow fell on Thursday. Congratulations to clarinetist Guangzhao Huang, Fredonia Concerto Competition winner, who was featured with The Fredonia Wind Ensemble on Sunday.
Kudos to those who hosted and competed in Opera Scenes at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House and the Intercollegiate Poetry Slam here on campus. Congratulations on the opening of the Knowing Paper exhibition in the Marion Art Gallery. This is a vibrant campus, with so many opportunities to learn, to enjoy the arts, and to make snowy weekends much more exciting. Thank you!
Monday February 26, 2018
Monday Updates are intended to keep the campus informed about current and upcoming events, to follow up on questions you ask, and to address special situations as they arise. This week, I am following up on several issues related to diversity, inclusion, and campus climate. Campus safety is also mentioned here, as it has been an important topic of discussion by several groups, including union leadership and the President’s Student Cabinet.
Racist Snapchat and Fight
The Office of Student Conduct and the DEI Office have concluded the investigations about the recent racist social media post and related violence. All involved parties are agreeable to the resolution that was determined by Student Conduct. As with any student behavior investigations, privacy laws prevent the sharing of specific information about the case, including any actions by the university.
Recently, I learned that no all-gender restrooms are available in Mason Hall and found this troubling on two levels. First, we need to have all-gender restrooms in all academic buildings, as this is a basic right and need for transgender individuals and any who seek privacy for various reasons. Second, we need to have better planning so that we can be proactive on such issues, with space and facilities needs rising from users in buildings across campus. Students should not have to petition for this kind of need to reach the attention of those who can do something about it. In making our campus more inclusive, changing spaces is the easiest thing we can do; changing minds and practices related to inclusion is much more challenging.
For the situation in Mason, a solution is being developed to convert at least one restroom to all-gender within the next week. I have asked Facilities Planning and Facilities Services to ensure that each of the remaining buildings without all-gender restrooms will have these in place as soon as possible. The Space Planning Committee is also working on a process to identify and prioritize needs in buildings across campus.
Visit from Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale
Thank you to everyone who participated in one of the sessions led by Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, who visited Fredonia last Thursday. She met with different groups throughout the day and held a public session in the evening. The reviews of this visit were mixed, to say the least. For some, she offered valuable perspectives about the challenges of changing people’s minds and behaviors when interacting with people different from themselves. For many, though, her comments and approach inflamed anger from those who are already angry about discrimination they face on campus and in the community. Although she was brought to campus to share her experience in leading organizations to be more inclusive and to value diversity, these points were unfortunately lost. What was clear from this visit, however, is that as a campus community we need reconciliation to address the real hurt of many people, training for all, clearer structures to support diversity, and continued commitment to being an inclusive community.
Campus Safety and Emergency Planning
Soon you will see a posting for a Campus Emergency Planning Coordinator who will lead efforts for all of us to be better prepared in the event of a campus emergency. This is something that the CSEA and UUP leaders have asked for and that the Cabinet supports. Our University Police are certainly prepared to respond to emergencies, but across campus, we all need to know what the protocols are for fires, bomb threats, chemical spills, active shooters, weather-related emergencies, and other events that require clear heads and fast action. Before first responders can reach a scene, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to save lives. The Emergency Planning Coordinator will ensure that protocols are communicated effectively, that the campus engages in regular drills and training, and that communication processes are clear.
Recognition of Finalists for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
Last week, students were invited to a lunch with the Cabinet to congratulate them on their selection as campus finalists for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Only three of these nominations were sent forward to SUNY to receive the award, as this is the maximum number of awardees for our campus. All of the campus nominees have excellent records of academic achievement and leadership, and the Cabinet was proud to recognize them. Once the campus nominations are confirmed by the Chancellor’s Office, we will announce the names of the Award winners and campus finalists.
Kudos to all who participated in the Intercollegiate Choral Festival, brought Daisy Pulls It Off to the Bartlett stage, organized and led the closing ceremony of Black History Month, upset Oswego and earned a place in the SUNYAC hockey championship game, organized and participated in the Black Empowerment Retreat, participated in the Constellation Concert and School of Music auditions, organized the Chinese New Year celebration, led and participated in the WWI Centennial Events on War and Peace, organized and attended the Student Association summit, performed in recitals, and brought guest speakers to campus to discuss net neutrality, Hungarian society and culture, and Black history. You make our campus stronger, more vibrant, and more interesting through all of these efforts!
Monday February 19, 2018
I’m writing to keep the campus informed about the ongoing situation involving a recent student social media post and events leading to and stemming from it. To limit the number of emails sent to you, I will now be posting an update on the President’s Office page each Monday to communicate about current and upcoming events, to follow up on questions you ask, and to address special situations, such as this one, as they arise. This week, my theme is the role of diversity on campus. This week, diversity educator Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale will be on campus (Thursday, February 22, 5:30, McEwen 209). It’s a visit that was planned last fall but could not be more timely.
A university should be a place that values the diversity and range of experiences that each person brings to campus, where debates and disagreements lead to challenging one’s assumptions and learning. It should not be a place of name-calling or antagonism based on difference from oneself.
Racist Snapchat and Fight
These incidents are being investigated by several offices, including the Office of Student Conduct and the DEI Office in compliance with university policies to determine appropriate courses of action. With the winter break, those interviews are not yet concluded and the outcomes not yet determined. Please know that as with any student behavior investigations, privacy laws prevent the sharing of specific information about the case, including any actions by the university. What is important for the campus to know is that a series of actions are being taken to address this specific situation and to try to prevent similar ones in the future.
The social media post provoked considerable anger and hurt because for many, it was just one more sign of an atmosphere of inequity and unwelcome on campus and in the community. In the forums on diversity held last semester, participants described acts of discrimination based on race, gender, gender identity and expression, and other biases. Students, faculty, and staff tell their heartfelt and heartbreaking stories of discrimination here and elsewhere. I am hearing very clearly that people of color and their allies are tired of forums and discussion, tired of trying to educate others, tired of what feels like an increasingly hostile climate at a predominantly white institution. The suggestions from these kinds of discussions are shaping the next steps of the campus. People want and need action.
Next Steps in Changing Our Culture
Although change will not happen overnight--or even over a few months--we have put in place several next steps that build on areas helpfully identified by students, faculty, and staff, the directions in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan, and the Blueprint for Excellence (Fredonia’s new strategic plan).
The Blueprint for Excellence includes a strategic theme of Equity and Culture, which includes these goals: 1) Foster a vibrant climate of inclusiveness and global awareness for all; 2) ensure that the campus and community are places where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion; and 3) promote a positive environment for all students, employees, and campus visitors. Our success and the success of Fredonia’s students depends on our reaching these goals, and we have a long way to go.
These are some of the current areas on which people are working:
My office, the DEI Office, and the Intercultural Center are working to develop and implement an extensive diversity training program for all on campus--not a one-time workshop but continued, frequent sessions to engage everyone in learning about ways to interact with understanding across our differences. We will be having a consultant bring a program to train the trainers and will seek volunteers from across campus to assist in these efforts.
The DEI Office is working to create a clearer process for Bias Incident Reporting, which will include training an Incident Response Team to follow up on reported incidents.
The Fredonia Foundations program is now being built for its launch in Fall 2018, and this new general education program includes required coursework in Global Perspectives and Diversity.
Fredonia will be sending a team to a SUNY conference on April 11-12 that focuses on First Amendment Rights on campuses. Free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, but sorting out the place for free expression in a divided culture can be challenging. I will ask the team to give a public presentation when they have returned so that we all can benefit from understanding the differences between protected speech and harassment, robust difference of opinion and a hostile environment.
We will administer a campus climate survey this year which will assist in identifying the areas that need to be improved for Fredonia to attract, retain, and support faculty, staff, and students from underserved groups.
This week, we are sponsoring a visit from Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, a diversity consultant with decades of experience in training organizations. She will be on campus all day on Thursday, February 22, meeting with groups and giving a public presentation at 5:30 in McEwen 209.
All of this matters greatly to me. With all of the challenges that we face--changing facilities, balancing finances, implementing new initiatives--none is more important than actually being the place Fredonia could and should be: one that welcomes all people, treats everyone with respect, and is stronger because of its diversity.