Letter from President Bardo on campus diversity

From Wichita State University President John Bardo

Dear students, faculty and staff, 

I didn’t want the week to end without letting you know that we’re already absorbing the lessons from Thursday’s dialogue on diversity, and we’ll begin to act next week on the ideas we heard.

I’ve been thinking about the words from the student sitting in the front who reminded me twice that while I’m planning at the speed of bureaucracy, she and other minority students are fighting every day for their rights, respect and education. I recognized the truth in that. I hope to exceed her expectations and yours.

Here are some themes I heard on Thursday:

  • increase the diversity of faculty and staff
  • look into increased diversity training for faculty and staff
  • find new ways to recruit, retain and offer resources for minorities, including the possibility of a “buddy system” that would provide mentorship to first-generation college students, veterans, international students, minority students and others who would benefit
  • continue WSU’s ongoing efforts to reduce bureaucracy and increase its responsiveness
  • find ways to attract adult learners and make them feel welcome
  • look into the possibility of creating a university Code of Ethics that would state what we tolerate as an institution and have systems in place to enforce that
  • look at the distribution of need-based vs. merit-based scholarships to help support those struggling financially
  • continue to increase safety on campus

One WSU staffer summarized yesterday’s meeting in this way: “We had a respectful, open dialogue about how we can treat each other better.”

Let’s keep that respectful, open dialogue going and find ways to treat each other better. If you have ideas for helping, please send them to [email protected].


John Bardo