Dear Members of the Redbird family:
This message is in response to feedback we have received about a letter to the editor in the April 2019 edition of the Illinois State magazine. The letter referenced an article titled “Redbird Romance,” which ran in the alumni magazine in April 2018. In that article, several couples were featured. The recent letter to the editor made remarks about one of the couples who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community and should not have been printed. It contained language that violated the University’s value of respect and it is in conflict with strides the University has made and continues to make related to our values of diversity and inclusion. The magazine’s editor has apologized to the couple, and I have apologized as well to them and others for the printing of the letter.
Diversity has long been a core value of Illinois State University. For nearly two decades it was part of the strategic plan Educating Illinois. The new strategic plan, approved in 2018, titled Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State added the word “inclusion” to diversity and a new value, “respect.” While anyone is free to offer their beliefs and opinions, as a university we must operate within the framework of a plan that represents our values, including the value of respect for others. We recruit, teach, support, and educate a diverse student population with a diverse faculty and staff resulting in a diverse alumni population. Our efforts related to diversity and inclusion specifically can be found by linking to the Campus Climate Task Force. I have also initiated a review of our current editorial policies and will seek recommendations to improve them. That work started on Monday, April 22.
We can always do better and we will. I do not, however, want a misstep to undermine all of the good work our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and other supporters have done and continue to do in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and respect. We will continue to embrace our values and work to live up to them.
Larry H. Dietz, Ph.D.