President’s speeches, letters, and articles
Subject: Gratitude and Commitment: A message from President Bilger
April 4, 2022
Dear Reed Students, Staff, and Faculty,
As we begin a new week, I want to again express my gratitude for all you have done, and continue to do, to advocate for a more inclusive Reed community.
The past week has given us much to consider. We will continue to reflect on all that we have heard and to consult with as many members of our community as possible, including students, faculty, and staff, on appropriate next steps. Below I have outlined some steps that we are finalizing, and we are grateful for input from the committees on diversity that inform these actions.
These actions do not represent all that we intend to undertake. We will continue to ask for your input as we collectively chart this course. We will share a formal plan for these immediate steps with you by April 29.
Engage in meaningful conversations. Conduct in-person community town halls. We envision these as quarterly sessions for students, staff, and faculty to come together, discuss specific topics, learn more about decision making at Reed, and report on our progress toward becoming a more inclusive Reed. We will also improve our capacity to guide one another through difficult discussions by partnering with experts who specialize in teaching about effective dialogue practices, such as the National Intergroup Dialogue Institute.
Implement more Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training. This includes bias training during the initial onboarding process for all faculty and staff, as well as providing ongoing programs throughout our time as members of the Reed community in order to enhance our skills and build our knowledge of transformative anti-racism practices.
Further invest in services that support diverse communities. We will improve support for members of our student community who identify as immigrants, international, and people of color. We will increase financial resources for Reed’s Multicultural Resource Center, Office of International Student Services, Peer Mentor Program, and SEEDS, as well as create stronger connections with diverse organizations in Portland.
Coordinating with the Committees on Diversity. The president will meet with the student, staff, and faculty Committees on Diversity each semester and work in conjunction with the dean for institutional diversity to develop further action plans based on results from the campus climate surveys. The Student Climate survey is in process, and we will launch the staff and faculty surveys before the end of this calendar year.
Expand Staff Affinity Groups. Additions will include the following: Latinx; Multi-Racial; Indigenous.
Develop Equity and Inclusion plans. All Reed vice presidents will develop equity and inclusion plans for their respective divisions.
Streamline Reed’s bias reporting process. Changes will include improved access, greater transparency regarding this process, and better delineation of a bias incident report and a discriminatory harassment and sexual misconduct report.
As some of the actions above continue to take shape, others can be implemented more rapidly. We are fully committed to making these improvements and to keeping an open mind about others.
Change can only happen if we all engage in this work. It will require close, and at times painful, examination of our practices, policies, habits, and behaviors. I and members of my leadership team are here to continue to do this work. We commend those who have demonstrated their dedication to urgent and thoughtful action and healing.