Committee for ‘respectful, inclusive community’ to begin initial planning

At the start of the semester, St. Edward’s University President George E. Martin announced the formation of the President’s Advisory Council for a Respectful, Inclusive Community.

The committee will include faculty, staff and student representatives who will meet to “assess our campus climate and make recommendations to me about how the university can better serve our diverse community,” according to an e-mail to students from Martin in January.

The Rev. Peter Walsh, who is chairing the committee, was charged with choosing members, a list of which he announced via Horizon Feb. 17.

“The work of the council will be grounded in our Holy Cross values and will explore how well we are currently honoring those values with an eye to how we might improve upon our efforts,” Walsh said.

In the Horizon announcement, Walsh explained that he and Martin asked Faculty Senate President, the President of the Student Government Association and the Vice Presidents to recommend members for the council.

“I am impressed by and grateful for the generosity of all those who have agreed to work on this important initiative,” Walsh said. “We will be assembling in the next few weeks for our first meeting.”

It isn’t yet clear how often the committee will meet or whether they will report the results of their meetings to the St. Edward’s community, but Martin assured that he would consider the group’s findings as the university “is formally looking at its future.”

“We are a very diverse community and that’s intentional. And it’s very much consistent with the fact that we are a Holy Cross University,” Martin said. “Diversity is actually essential to the educational mission of the university. We have always tried to serve all of the members of our community, particularly students as well as we can.”

Committee member Jack Musselman said that he’s not sure what the groups’s specific goals are, but that he hopes it will consider intellectual diversity to be an important element in the discussion.

“It would seem to me that one measure of diversity would be ideological,” Musselman said. “Whether that’s the charge of the committee is anyone’s guess.”