By Jess Hoogendoorn
In response to several bias incidents on campus, the University formed the President’s Committee on Tolerance to establish unity among all students despite their diverse backgrounds.
Don Brown, director of Multicultural Affairs and Community Service, and Dean of Students Anthony Campbell head the committee and work with students, staff and faculty to promote understanding and tolerance. Those involved are divided into subcommittees designed to organize programs to educate the Rider community about different cultures and also ensure community values are recognized.
“The committee is designed to develop programs that will be overarching and will have a wide impact on our community in terms of how we train and develop staff, faculty and leaders and how we educate our students,” Campbell said.
Rider’s community values statement is especially important to the committee. It reads that the University has pledged to celebrate differences on campus because they are “our strengths.” Campbell said that these differences encompass more than race. Other differences that should be embraced are religion, economic class and student origin.
“How do we capitalize on the richness that we have in our community already — that’s really what the impact of the committee is,” Campbell said. “How do we take that part of our community values statement and operationalize it throughout the University? How do we make it recognized in all cultures, for all students?”
The students on the subcommittees were chosen because they showed interest in earlier contexts. Campbell and Brown appointed them to work on different areas that include programming, research and education, leadership and mentoring, training and faculty development and communication. The groups are designed to find ways to make an overall impact on the student body through education and programming experiences.
“In Rider’s strategic plan, it is clear that diversity and community is one of Rider’s core values,” said Associate Dean of Students Jan Friedman-Krupnick. “In addition, one of the University’s strategic directions is fostering diverse perspectives and social responsibility.
“This means in part that we will embrace the diversity of our campus and provide students, staff and faculty with increased awareness and appreciation of the differences among people and cultures,” Friedman-Krupnick added.
“When there is understanding you are more likely to treat others with respect and less likely to accept stereotypes.”