The Office of Diversity, Multicultural and Minority Affairs is committed to devising strategies and overseeing initiatives within the School of Medicine that will celebrate our diverse campus populations. We work to assure a mix of students, faculty and staff that mirrors the census demographics for central and southern Illinois.
Our overarching responsibility is to help students successfully complete their medical education, while providing support to them and the diverse faculty and staff who make up our workforce. We strive for an organizational culture that respects individual differences, where persons of various backgrounds can flourish in a harmonious, secure, nurturing environment.
Just a few days before the 50th Selma Bridge Crossing commemoration in Alabama, members of the Forum and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) local chapter met at SIUSOM for discussions around the question: "Is post-racial America our reality?" The Forum is a recently formed, grassroots, SIU medical student group dedicated to open discussion of various hot topics. SNMA is a decades-old, nationwide organization dedicated to people of color and underserved communities. Flyers were posted around the School to inform and invite others to the meeting. On one of the flyers posted in the south hallway of building 801, someone wrote in capital letters, "WHO CARES?"
We will likely never know who wrote on the flyer. What we do know is that the sentiment of those two words is uncharacteristic and unrepresentative of the steady steps taken over the years by School administrators to embrace Diversity and Inclusion at all levels of our organization. Our collective actions repudiate those two words and the disrespectful attitude expressed by them. While we have our own cultural bridges to cross as an institution, we have not shied away from beginning the journey, and we will not stop moving forward until our campus is sensitive and responsive to all, regardless of their stations in life or their ancestral backgrounds.
So, members of the Forum and SNMA, as well as members of the entire campus community, you have your answer. No. Post-racial America is not our reality, and neither is post-racial SIU School of Medicine. But we are determined to bridge our cultural divides and won’t stop until hurtful words, overt actions, and disruptive institutional behaviors are things of our distant past.
WHO CARES? We care.
All like-minded faculty, student and staff members are invited to join us in the South Auditorium, April 29, 2015, 5 p.m., for a brief presentation around the theme: "We Care." Dr. Dorsey will give opening remarks. The next scheduled meeting of the Forum will occur immediately following the presentation.