President Barron discusses ongoing initiatives focused on diversity, inclusion

September 16, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Speaking to the Board of Trustees Friday (Sept. 16), Penn State President Eric Barron described a new University initiative aimed at fostering dialogue about diversity and inclusion and encouraging all Penn Staters to ask what they can do to create an open and welcoming environment.

Barron noted that across the nation, as diversity increases, questions related to inclusivity, openness and free speech have been occurring in communities and on college campuses, raising concerns about unequal treatment, hostility on social media, conflicts between free speech and inclusion — resulting in protests and demonstrations at some institutions. At Penn State, he said, the focus will be on not waiting for issues to become problems, but instead, finding avenues to proactively foster safe and open-minded environments and discussions.

“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of Penn State’s foundation. They are crucial to our students’ education and to creating a learning environment that encourages new ideas and fosters critical thinking among students, faculty and staff,” Barron said.

“We live in an incredibly diverse culture, which offers remarkable opportunities for all of us to learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences. We’re going to focus on this topic by having thoughtful dialogues about it, creating an environment that’s welcoming to all members of our community and challenging all Penn Staters to ask what you can do to be ‘All In.’”

Barron was referring to the name of the ongoing initiative, “All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion,” to be launched Thursday, Oct. 6, and continue throughout the year. The Oct. 6 event begins at 7:15 p.m. on the Old Main lawn and will feature a unique multi-media presentation across the front of Old Main. The entire community is encouraged to participate in the event, which will be streamed live online to the Commonwealth Campuses, and will feature Barron, other speakers and various elements.

“When you see people at Penn State, it doesn’t matter where they are from, what they like or what religion they practice, they have all earned the right to be at Penn State,” Barron said. “We’re asking everyone to take time to think about these issues and ask yourself how you can be a part of them. How you can be “All In.” How you will participate to make our campuses more welcoming and inclusive.”

“All In at Penn State” will continue throughout the year with events such as a First Amendment panel discussion Oct. 27 in the HUB-Robeson Center, Military Appreciation Week Nov. 4-13 and Black History Month in February. An “All In” calendar can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/all-in-calendar. These efforts will culminate in the spring with a capstone physical tribute to mark Penn State’s commitment to being diverse and inclusive.

“This initiative emphasizes the idea of “Be who you are. Together,” Barron said. The president shared a video, created by students and WPSU, that plays on Penn State’s “We Are” cheer -- concluding that We Are... all Penn State. To view the video, click here. Educational materials are being created by WPSU that will accompany the video and provide a full learning package for viewers. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 20, 2016