Barker Leads Efforts in Developing Westminster College's Official Diversity Statement
This story is linked to: The Forum (Westminster College student newspaper)
Though Westminster College has long professed the importance of diversity, student activists have spent the past year and a half challenging the college for its lack of an official statement about what that word actually means to the institution.
In response, administrators are currently in the process of revising the college's official diversity statement, which will outline how the college values and pursues equality and inclusion.
“The diversity statement operates similarly to a mission statement,” said Marco Barker, Westminster’s associate vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. “It’s something that connects us. It’s something that grounds us and can be foundational.” Barker was hired in Fall 2016 after student protests over how the college had previously addressed diversity issues within its community—tensions that came to a head when The Forum published comments from administration that some students felt misrepresented diversity as a variety of majors rather than as a variety of minority groups.
When he started, Barker said he had heard concerns that members of Westminster's community weren’t on the same page about what diversity meant.
“[The diversity statement] serves to give a grounding point of reference but is also aspirational and allows us to articulate who we want to be as an institution,” Barker said.