Perry responds to student demonstrations

Bob Galuski, Editor-in-chief

President Bill Perry sent an email to students Tuesday, commending them on how they have handled the issues relating to Ferguson, Mo., including the peaceful protests and demonstrations.

“They have done so with resolve, reason and clear communication, reflective of, I believe, our faculty’s and staff’s teaching and mentoring aligned with our educational mission to enable our students to refine their abilities to reason and to communicate clearly so as to become responsible citizens and leaders,” he said in the email.

The email also focused on his individual meetings with students, faculty and staff regarding matters of diversity, which he called, in the email, “encouraging.”

“The meetings have not only focused on understanding issues and addressing problems, but also on ongoing efforts that are indicative of progress,” he said in the email. “Of course other individuals in the administration are working with groups on different aspects of diversity and that work will continue.”

Perry later said he has been learning from the discussions, which he called “candid,” and he said he will continue them next semester as well.

Perry also said while he has not been able to make it to a demonstration so far, because of his travel schedule, the impressions from press coverage and from comments from individuals present are that the demonstrations have been effective.

He said though that Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, had been present at some of the demonstrations and told him that the students had been responsible and the demonstrations were productive.

In his email, Perry also praised the student body for not reacting as others have on social media sites.

“I know that social media contain inflammatory language. Our students have not responded in kind,” he said in the email. “Rather, they have been responsible in their actions, as I am confident they will continue to be.”

Perry later said one of the efforts being made involves Making Excellence Inclusive, which is a faculty-lead effort that has been in place for about a year and a half.

He said during the EIUnity Diversity Conference in February, information about the effort was presented.

The information included the four components of Making Excellence Inclusive, which is focusing on student intellectual and social development; cross-campus collaboration in support of enhanced student learning; attention to cultural differences learners bring to their educational experiences; and creating a welcoming community that engages diversity in support of student learning.

Perry said he has met with Making Excellence Inclusive group and is “very supportive of their goals and work.”

Perry also encouraged open dialogue in his email, which included the administration working with groups.

“Of course other individuals in the administration are working with groups on different aspects of diversity and that work will continue,” he said in the email. “I encourage continued dialogue. Together, we will make progress.”

 

Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]