Thiel Launches President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion

GREENVILLE, Pa. — As part of its continuing focus on diversity and inclusion, Thiel College launched the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

The panel includes President Susan Traverso and Anthony Jones Jr., associate dean for diversity and inclusion, as well as students, alumni, members of the board of trustees, faculty and staff. The first meeting was held April 14.

“The council will guide and set priorities moving forward for initiatives to strengthen our community and ensure its commitment to diversity and inclusion. This council will heighten coordination of our efforts and contribute to the next strategic plan,” Traverso said in a statement. “We incorporated diversity and inclusion into the College’s mission statement when we created the strategic plan in 2016, and the council will continue that work of advancing diversity and inclusion and make it a point of emphasis going forward. At Thiel, we understand and respect the widest interpretation of diversity.”

Of Thiel’s total student body, about 23% identify as a member of a minority or underrepresented population, among the highest for a small liberal arts undergraduate college in the region, according to the college.

“As a community, it is vitally important that we remain focused on issues of diversity and inclusion. We cannot be lulled into complacency because there are not tragic and sad events dominating our daily newsfeed,” Jones said. “It is precisely in these times between the divisive headlines about prejudice, injustice and intolerance when we can come together as a community and find understanding, create common ground, increase empathy and generate goodwill.”

Other diversity and inclusion efforts included in the Thiel 2021: Student Success strategic plan include Jones’ appointment to lead diversity and inclusion efforts and multicultural affairs, as well as:

  • The launching of a year-long yearlong interfaith series which featured a Muslim chaplain, a Christian ethicist, Bishop Emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, a Buddhist monk and a Commencement address by an Amish and Mennonite scholar.
  • The introduction of a Courageous Conversations speaker series, which has connected members of the Thiel Community to various speakers discussing a wide array of diversity topics.
  • The awarding Martin Luther King Jr. awards for achievement in diversity and in recognition of community members, alumni and employees who exhibit the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.

Last year, the college hosted an online summit for students and employees following the death of George Floyd to discuss his death and the following events that took place around the country. Thiel’s diversity web page was updated to include additional resources for students dealing with racism, as well as information on being an ally for minority and underrepresented populations. In August, the campus hosted a socially distanced rally in conjunction with the virtual March in Washington.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.