HUNTINGTON — Marshall University is firmly committed to the city of Huntington’s “Open to All” campaign, President Jerome A. Gilbert told a reception Jan. 9 at the Marshall President’s House.
In brief remarks, Gilbert said he dreams of a day when his three-year-old granddaughter will be able to grow up in a society where diversity prevails.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams began the city’s “Open to All” campaign in 2016 to encourage local businesses and organizations to make a pledge to maintain a welcoming and safe environment for all visitors, customers, employees, vendors and clients, regardless of race, religion, ancestry, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The campaign has been officially re-launched this year, with those involved pledged to give it a new impetus.
“Marshall has always been open to all,” Gilbert told the reception’s guests — a mix of university leaders and community members, many of whom are involved in the university’s new President’s Commission on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.
Dr. Kelli Johnson and Dr. Timothy Melvin are co-directors of the new commission. Johnson is an associate university librarian, and Melvin is assessment coordinator in the university’s Office of Academic Affairs.
Gilbert said the commission was created to develop initiatives and programming that support the recruitment, development and success of a diverse workforce and student body.
“Further promoting the campus culture to be more diverse in make-up and in thought is something I have embraced from my first days at Marshall,” he said. “As we add more diversity to our student body, faculty and staff, it is important to expand our programming to highlight the benefits of diversity and foster the inclusion of all individuals in our university family.”
“Through the new commission,” Gilbert said, “our university will continue to be a welcoming campus with an even more visible statement of our beliefs about equality and inclusion.”
Gilbert said Marshall is also in the process of creating a new President’s Commission on Women’s Issues, which will focus making sure issues impacting women are given appropriate attention.
“It is unacceptable that women have been assaulted and harassed both verbally and physically in past and recent times in a culture that still allows men to have advantages over women,” Gilbert said.
“These two new commissions will both work to help Marshall take a leadership role in ending inequality and promote full inclusion and equality for all.”