Update from Chancellor King
Students, faculty and staff,
I’m writing to provide updates to our university response as we navigate the hate incident that occurred on campus during the first week of classes and, overall, as we strive to improve campus safety and strengthen our culture of inclusivity and belonging.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve engaged with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members in multiple settings, from individual conversations to town hall events. Our Warhawk family stands in solidarity. We are united in rejection of hate and our unwavering commitment in creating a supportive and safe campus environment where we can all thrive and achieve.
Several concrete next steps have emerged from our collective dialogue:
- We have formed a Public Safety Taskforce, led by Chief of Police Matt Kiederlen. This group, composed of faculty, staff, and students will immediately review our processes, training and infrastructure, and make recommendations to further improve safety on our Whitewater and Rock County campuses. We have reconvened our university-wide campus safety committee to continue progress on initiatives to improve this important space.
- The Chancellor’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence, led by Assistant Chancellor for Inclusivity and Belonging Anneke Lisberg, will continue to spearhead our work in this space. This group is currently leading our Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Climate Survey. The results will serve as a data-rich foundation as we determine a plan of action moving forward. (Thank you for continuing to promote with colleagues the completion of the survey by Monday, February 12.) I applaud the faculty, staff, and students who serve on this chancellor’s committee. Dr. Lisberg will also serve as our point person in continuing to hear ideas and recommendations as we advance our inclusivity and belonging space. We will also continue the work being done by faculty, staff and students through the chancellor’s committees on LGBT+ Issues, Disability Concerns, Veteran and Servicemember Success, Mental Health, and Student Success.
- We have formed a Chancellor’s Student Advisory Council to convene each semester to discuss student issues and ideas and to make progress on actions to improve the student experience overall. In addition, our Student Affairs staff have scheduled a series of "Warhawk Chats" in student spaces such as the Warhawk Connection Center. The goal is for our employees to have even greater engagement with students, learn from one another, and to build supportive networks.
- We will continue to leverage the knowledge and expertise of our faculty and staff in various disciplines and areas to create professional development and training opportunities to educate our campus community and provide tools for navigation. Recently, I participated in the Warhawk Connection Center’s MLK Program focused on the culture of belonging. I also attended a faculty panel, through the College of Letters and Sciences, focused on exploring diverse perspectives and insights into the recent incident of hate speech on campus. This panel discussion was both informative and impactful. I also invite you to attend the University’s Inclusivity Forum on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. There will be a panel discussion — one geared toward our campus community and the other for students. The forum will feature panelists from Wisconsin businesses and organizations with focus on inclusivity in Wisconsin’s workplaces. These are examples of the many ongoing activities that speak to our university's mission and core values.
Let me be clear, UW-Whitewater is strong and resilient. We support each other, we care for each other, and we learn from each other. We are the Warkhawk family. You belong here. We belong here!
A reminder that we’re in the final call for nominations for our faculty and staff awards for 2024. These awards seek to recognize our faculty and staff for their exceptional efforts and commitment to our mission and core values. Please consider nominating a colleague.
I had the great pleasure to be in Madison today for the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Diversity Awards. Our very own Campus Garden, led by Sustainability Director Wes Enterline, was among the recipients this year. We are doing great work at UW-Whitewater. I’m so proud to be your chancellor and to champion our collective efforts to transform lives and our communities.
Corey A. King