Every member of the West Virginia University family has a responsibility to create an inclusive environment where Mountaineers celebrate differences and find a path for unity, Meshea Poore, who leads the University’s efforts said Monday (Sept. 16).
“We all must hold each other accountable for the ways in which we help create the campus atmosphere we desire no matter if you are on the main campus here in Morgantown, or on our Keyser or Beckley campuses,” said Poore, vice president for Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the University’s inaugural State of Diversity address. “We must not be bystanders when we see hate, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence or discrimination taking place. It is on each of us to stand up and speak up when we see harm being done to a fellow Mountaineer and to not allow any excuse that prevents us from looking out for one another.”
Poore said students, faculty and staff must also recognize when they need to individually grow in order to lead, but also to recognize their own biases to guarantee the University seeks out and brings the best possible talent to its campuses. As a Big 12 university, Poore said WVU can no longer “play small” and not embrace the endless possibilities and opportunities to grow a place of genuine acceptance.
“We must understand that while we are inclusive and embrace our beautifully diverse tapestry of faculty from around the globe, we also must provide spaces that allow for innovation, for navigation of issues and challenges to be raised,” she said. “We must be brave enough to not just think outside of the box, but to remove the box completely and with it removing the limits of thought burdens on boundaries and help our teams soar.”
Poore is in the process of consolidating a new team to bolster her division’s outreach to the University and beyond. She noted DEI’s newly-constructed website is a resource for trainings, conversation starter topics, a monthly soundtrack for justice and more.
“We are committed to meeting you wherever you
might be in this conversation and look forward to growing together,” Poore
said. “We celebrate and find value in each of our differences, acknowledging
that we are 33,000 voices with different thoughts, theories and beliefs, but
that when we say we are Mountaineers, we stand united as one WVU family
Poore’s address at the College of Law Event Hall kicked off Diversity Week at WVU. Daily events include an exploration of citizenship and immigration, a discussion of women in sports and an international street festival.
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