Lerner Town Hall - Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives 3/11/2021
From Kimberly Ragan
Research studies continue to demonstrate that organizations that are diverse and inclusive outperform their peers. While diversity is good for business, inequities and racial injustices continue to persist.
Ken Frazier, CEO of
Merck, one of just three Black CEOs in the Fortune 500, has called “for business leaders to be
a ‘unifying force’ that can help solve many of the racial inequalities in
America by creating new opportunities and jobs.” He has said that “education,
and particularly financial literacy, is the ‘great equalizer.’”
(CNBC.com, February 4, 2021)
At Lerner, we’ve been teaching business
subjects for over 100 years. In the past year our communal eyes have been
opened wider to disparities in treatment and inequities in the U.S. brought to
light by national events, and leading to unrest and protests.
As I wrote
in June, I am proud of our culture at Lerner
and the beneficial impact we have on students' lives and the communities we
serve - but we need to do better - not everyone feels that they belong or that
they are treated fairly in Lerner. President
Assanis asked the UD community to recommit “ourselves to ensuring that our
instit! ution continues to be a source of pride for
all students, all faculty, all staff, all alumni
… all people.” I also asked everyone to
re-commit themselves to upholding the values of the Lerner College as stated in
statement – cultivating diversity and building an
In the Fall, we gathered for a series of Lerner listening
hours. We heard from students, alumni, and faculty and staff. We listened to
students and graduates describe how they experienced obstacles and were treated
differently because of their race by professors, fellow students and campus
security personnel. The Lerner work environment was described as operating like
a boys’ club and some felt like second-class citizens.
Having dedicated ourselves to listening to our community
with empathy, the sessions enabled us to become more aware. While people came
to the conversation from different perspectives, they spoke their truth. Many of us continue to
experience pain, fear and trauma, and many others of us desire to be allies
that are more effective.
Our Lerner Town Hall, held on Thursday, March 11 at 4 pm EST, gave us an opportunity to discuss what we heard during our Lerner listening sessions and our action plan for moving forward together as one Lerner community. The Lerner Town Hall is part of a larger effort at UD to realize a clear vision for success for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in our Blue Hen community.