Like the initiators of the petition, the Executive Board attaches great importance to diversity and inclusion within our university. It is our conviction too that we can distinguish ourselves by making optimal use of diversity among both students and staff – using the power of difference.
Diversity makes an important contribution to the quality of research and education at the university. Moreover, diversity is increasingly becoming a feature of both society as a whole and the city in which we are based. We want to prepare students as well as possible to be able to work optimally in a diverse society. Erasmus University is therefore striving to create an inclusive campus, where everyone can feel at home and use his or her talents.
The letter expresses urgency regarding the subject; that urgency is also felt by the Executive Board. Unfortunately, we must agree that progress so far has been slow. This must change, because we want to achieve such an inclusive campus as soon as possible.
An important step on the way is a new programme for which the faculties have drawn up action plans to improve diversity (in all its aspects). It is good to see that the plans are generally solid, comprehensive and concrete. They will enable us to continue building on best practices within the university, such as the Pre Academic Programme, the Erasmus Centre for Women & Organizations at RSM and the successful female talent programmes within Erasmus MC.
It is now up to the faculties to carry out all these actions. The Executive Board has every confidence that they will work hard to fulfil these ambitions. It has been agreed with the faculties that the progress of the plans will be integrated in the EUR’s Planning & Control cycle and discussed in meetings between faculty and Executive Board every six months. It will also be incorporated in the deans’ annual performance reviews.
The current planning is that the deans will discuss the plans with their faculty councils. In December of this year, this subject will be addressed in the meeting with the University Council. This month the University Council will be informed further about the continuation of the EUR-wide programme diversity & inclusion. The progress of this total programme will also be discussed periodically with the deans. Finally, the action plans and the objectives provide input for the new strategy and covenants with the faculties.
The existing EUR-wide programme “Diversity & Inclusion” will be extended. It plays an important role in stimulating and supporting the creation of that inclusive campus. The Diversity Office, together with the recently founded Diversity Student Board, forms a ‘hub’ in this to provide support, share knowledge and organise events. It is also the physical contact point for students, staff and external parties. The Executive Board is not alone in recognising the importance of diversity. The Supervisory Board is also concerned, which is why it has been incorporated in the profile of the new rector magnificus.
In conclusions: it is good to see that very many students and staff at Erasmus University consider diversity to be an urgent issue, reflected in the large number of signatories of the letter. Working on diversity is not just a task for the Executive Board, the Chief Diversity Officers or the deans; it is something that we must all work towards, together with the entire academic community.
The Executive Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam