USF strives for cultural diversity

Noelle Mason’s art class put on a statement midmorning Friday against gun violence. the students made costumes and props to show the horrors of gun violence and its impact on society. ORACLE PHOTO/MIKI SHINE

Nationwide protests have caused faculty and students across the USF system to reflect on values and experiences closer to home.

College and university campuses have a special role in society as the very place where the ideals of equality, inclusion, acceptance and free discourse are encouraged to thrive,” USF System President Judy Genshaft said in an email. “Progress in reaching these ideals is something we all should strive to achieve each and every day.”

According to Genshaft, the USF System will continue to strive to be an environment in which people feel safe, welcomed and respected.

“Across the USF System, the diversity of our students, faculty and staff promotes more effective teaching and research, produces greater learning outcomes, and better prepares all students for an increasingly diverse workforce and pluralistic society,” the email said. “It is our privilege to be a public university and serve as a positive example for our wider Tampa Bay region community.”

She also encouraged any student or staff who have suggestions about how to make the community more inclusive to approach the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity. And she hopes to maintain an openness with the students and faculty.

“I am proud of the USF System,” the email said. “It is important that we continue to have open lines of communication and continue to work productively with a positive and optimistic spirit to address our differences and collective responsibilities while celebrating all that brings us together.”