News and Perspectives
By Stef Wilenchek, director, Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life; and Nasreen Mohamed, director of student engagement, International Student and Scholar Services
Numerous news outlets are reporting targeting, violence, and possible murders of gay and bi men in Chechnya (Russian Federation). Recently, authorities in Chechnya have publicly vowed to eradicate the gay population in less than 30 days.
Our hearts go out to the victims of the extreme violence and targeting. The statement and actions of the Chechnya government perpetuate the world-wide myth that LGBTQIA people are not human. We are horrified by this extreme violence, and all forms of violence targeted towards LGBTQIA communities and other marginalized identities. We offer our deepest condolences to the friends, loved ones, and families of the victims.
Violence towards LGBTQIA people has been prevalent throughout history, in the U.S. and across the world, and continues to threaten our health, wellbeing, and ability for us to thrive. Although these murders and abuse are taking place many miles away from our campus, some of us may be from Chechnya, some of us may have family and friends there, and many of us know well that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”).
A University of Minnesota task force released a report Thursday with more than 100 recommendations for instructors and administrators to structure their courses to support student mental health.
In a 26-page report, the task force outlined suggestions encouraging faculty to pace coursework and interact with students exhibiting signs of mental illness, among other recommendations, in hopes campus-wide changes will follow.
The effects of strong mentoring relationships on the lives and careers of new scholars can be substantial. Evidence from studies of mentoring in higher education shows that doctoral students and new faculty members fortunate enough to be mentored by senior academics report smoother adjustment to academe, stronger records of teaching and scholarship, stronger institutional commitment, higher retention, greater success achieving promotion and tenure, and higher overall job and career satisfaction.
The following, from Katrice Albert, vice president for Equity and Diversity, is in response to the letter, Bold Action for Equity and Diversity: Nine Critical Questions for University Leadership.
May 2, 2017
Dear Laura, L'Aurelle, Holley, and Na'im,
Thank you for your email and the list of Bold Action for Equity and Diversity: Nine Critical Questions for University Leadership. We appreciate the initiative and the thoughtfulness of your team in developing this document and seeking feedback from Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP) and Campus Climate Engagement Team (CCET) in the process.
To reiterate the process of how we arrived here, the Bold Action letter emerged from your team drafting the letter inspired by some discussions and processes in the DCoP in February and May 2016 meetings, followed by work on it by your team and feedback received to the content from the DCoP and CCET in meetings and electronically.