Message from the Interim Chief Diversity Officer: A year of work and progress

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Dear App State Community,

Earlier this month we held our annual Diversity Celebration. This year’s celebration centered around storytelling, expressed through creative endeavors such as dance, literature and film. A special thanks goes out to all of those who joined the celebration by showcasing or attending.

May marks the celebration of Jewish Heritage Month. While instrumental Jewish leaders have been a part of U.S. history for decades, it wasn’t until 2006 that Jewish Heritage Month was first recognized by President George W. Bush. At App State, Jewish student organizations include Alpha Epsilon Pi and Hillel, and the university’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies is dedicated to the history and future of our Jewish community.

May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which celebrates the contributions of the many different Asian and South Asian communities. We are fortunate to have several organizations on our campus dedicated to supporting those identities throughout our community, including the Asian Student Association and a newly formed App State chapter of the UNC Systemwide Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) for faculty and staff. Chancellor Everts and the Office of Diversity supported the development of the App State chapter of the APIC’s System-level caucus during a time of significant hostility toward Asian communities across the nation. I’d like to thank Dr. Xiaofei Tu, Lisa Krenn, Dr. Christina Sornito-Carter and Dr. Mira Waits, who are serving as the inaugural leadership team of this group, for the work they have taken on in addition to their regular positions at App State in order to lay the foundations for this affinity group on our campus.

In my October 27, 2021, message, “Incremental Change, Considerable Impact,” I shared that the Office of Diversity, in partnership with the CDO’s Advisory Board, would be creating an inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report, which will be available at diversity.appstate.edu. In addition to the release of this report, I have invited campus partners to join a DEI Summit to highlight some of the work they have done and/or are planning to do. Through this outlet, we can discuss the challenges we face in building a welcoming and vibrant campus community.

This summit is open to the entire campus community and will take place on Thursday, April 28, from 9-11 a.m. in the Plemmons Student Union Solarium. At 4 p.m. on that same day, I will co-host a conversation hour with the Student Government Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee for students.

As our academic year comes to a close, I would like to thank everyone for the work that they have engaged in with diversity, equity and inclusion. The monthly diversity updates for this semester began with a statement that inclusion elevates all. I hope you have seen progress over the last year in continuing the mission of our university to embrace diversity and difference. Thank you for joining in our continued work to promote a spirit of inclusion at App State. I look forward to inviting you to join our continued work in the next academic year.

Sincerely,

/s/ Jamie Parson, J.D.

Jamie Parson, J.D.