Katie van den Berk 0

Support Diversity Training Initiatives at JMU

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We, as James Madison University students, staff, and alumni, are deeply disappointed in the JMU's response to a recent article published about the diversity and inclusion training required for student staff.

Trainings of this nature are not new to JMU, with many departments and specialty committees providing difficult conversations on racial justice, privilege and oppression, and equity work across campus. The training was informed by scholarly research within the realm of diversity education. However, rather than supporting their staff in providing these necessary diversity trainings, they apologized to alumni who felt victimized by the very work that has been happening on campus prior to a Fox News article.

Apologizing for white fragility will never make this campus safer for marginalized identities, including students/staff who identify as people of color, LGBTQ+, religious minorities, and other social identities. This administration has weakened our stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion work in higher education as well as created distrust among its alumni, staff, and students who support this work.

Those who sign this petition stand with all departments at JMU doing critical, necessary inclusion work as well as academic departments focused on racial equity. We support the training in question and demand this program, and other diversity trainings that were removed from orientation, to be re-instated.

Knowledge of our privilege will forever govern ignorance toward systemic discrimination in society. We support those at JMU doing the work to educate and dismantle these systems of oppression.

Fox News article about training: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/james-madison-uni...

JMU's official response: https://www.jmu.edu/news/2021/08/20-responsetotrai...

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