GVSU Community Affirmation of Inclusion

Grand Valley State University has always been committed to diversity and inclusion. As elected representatives of GVSU faculty, staff and students, we wish to reaffirm that commitment. 

The university’s statement on non-discrimination is that: “Every aspect of University life should be free from discrimination because of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status, or weight. Student housing, organizations, athletics, classes and University community facilities should be open to all who desire to participate.” (GVSU Non-Discrimination Statement) 

The Division of Inclusion and Equity states: “Diversity, in all its forms, is at the heart of Grand Valley’s mission to provide a liberal education that will help shape lives, professions, and societies. Diversity is affirmed and celebrated at GVSU and in the community as a necessary intellectual asset and institutional resource. Grand Valley believes it has a responsibility to serve all members of our community through a coordinated equity and inclusion strategy.” (Framework for Inclusion & Equity)

We affirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive, anti-discriminatory environment conducive to open inquiry, liberal education, and healthy community interactions. At a time when many faculty, staff and students are concerned for vulnerable or marginalized populations and those who have historically been discriminated against, we pledge ourselves to the following actions:

● We will work to ensure that the Grand Valley campus is a place where all students are welcome and have equal access to learning. Not only is diversity respected in our classrooms and on our campus but it is encouraged and supported. We know that an environment is hostile to inclusion if language is demeaning, insulting or personally descriptive, or if such language is allowed to occur without response.

● We will foster inclusiveness throughout our community by respecting others’ opinions and expression of opinions. We believe that disagreement and diversity of thought should be welcomed and encouraged as part of a liberal education. We acknowledge that discussion of differing ideas can be challenging but believe that disagreement with another person should be addressed through focusing on the reasoning, not the person offering the idea.

● We make an unqualified commitment to those on the margins through our actions and words. We recognize clearly that silence is not protection. Silence is not merely a lack of words, but an invitation to violate the principles we proclaim. We vow to stand up and speak up for the values and principles we believe in and the people and community we love. We will report bias incidents (http://www.gvsu.edu/bias/) and encourage others to do so.

Ella Fritzemeier, Student Senate President

Colleen Bailey, Chair of AP Committee

Karen Gipson, Chair of University Academic Senate