We have recently wrapped up our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week 2020 at USC. The fourth annual event celebrated the spirit of inclusion through a week-long series of more than 80 workshops, research presentations, events and social gatherings that were all designed to encourage conversations about inclusion.
Facilitated discussion sessions about race, disabilities, gender, military veterans, first-generation students and generational differences took place and the community was presented information on how to negotiate and handle difficult conversations about contentious issues.
Which brings me to the theme for the week-long event: Climate Change 20/20. In my mind, characterized not as it pertains to the earth’s atmosphere, but rather as it pertains to the current climate of acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion on our campus.
We are in a unique time in human existence; our cultures and people are mixing at an unprecedented rate. Understanding differences has never been so consequential to the future of USC and our society.
As a university, we have a duty to understand and make intentional progress in areas of empathy and appreciation for our diverse community. As an institution of higher education, we must always be committed to recognizing deeply embedded biases and rejecting racism and xenophobia.
At USC, we will strive to work through challenges together as a Trojan Family—close examination of the current climate and clear affirmation of a shared community is crucial now more than ever–we are all in this together.
–Charles F. Zukoski, March 13, 2020