Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Colleges have always been places of learning through the free exchange of ideas.  Those exchanges have spanned the spectrum from timing of medications to the meaning of names in Dickens’ novels.  Learning and growth where differing ideas and viewpoints are encouraged.  

As a result, the collegiate domain takes quite seriously issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, often referenced as DEI.  The concept of diversity has been scrutinized for years in both the world of education and the world of business.  Diversity is essential.  For a moment, you are the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Do you draft players who are all the same size, perhaps 6-foot, 210-pounds.  If you want a successful team, you draft some 300-pound linemen; a small but fast running back; a couple of tall, lanky receivers; and a quarterback with a rifle arm.  You need a diverse collection of people to win games.  It is the same in our learning environment; the more diverse we are, the more we learn.  Multiple studies reinforce the fact that student achievement is enhanced in diverse classrooms.

Equity should be a guarantee.  Our Declaration of Independence raises the issue of equity in its second paragraph, “all men are created equal,” though the authors were only referencing white males.  Nevertheless, laws and subsequent court cases have protected the concept of equal in our society.  However, equity and equal are not synonyms, and equal is more achievable than equity.  Equity means we are providing everyone with what they need to succeed.  At your Salem Community College, we strive every day to provide equity for everyone.  Sometimes, equity means we provide reasonable physical accommodations, or tutorial support, or financial assistance, or we work to overcome any number of other hurdles hindering success.

Inclusion is something we don’t normally acknowledge until we are the one not being included.  While the two above references – diversity and equity – should encompass inclusion, we have found that by themselves, they don’t.  Our goal at SCC is to ensure the entire college family feels safe, secure, and welcome.  Inclusion is only achieved when we address each of those elements.  

While DEI efforts in some sectors are being attacked, scoffed, minimized, and, in some cases, banned, your Salem Community College holds the above tenets to be essential.  We are a work in progress with DEI, but rest assured, we are working on diversity, equity and inclusion each and every day.