Together Forward: CSU’s commitment to diversity
Charleston Southern believes that God values every human life because everyone is made in His image. As one of the most diverse university populations in South Carolina, CSU stands with a unified voice to say that we stand with God against all forms of racism, hate and violence. And we believe that the lives of our black students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends matter.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all those affected by the killing of George Floyd and others who have died at the hand of racism. And we continue to cover all our brothers and sisters across the nation in prayer and in unity. May these words from the book of Micah be our anthem: Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
What has CSU done so far to promote diversity and equity?
CSU is blessed to have 38.5% people of color (22% African American) represented in our student body. The Doctor of Education in leadership program, one of our newest additions at CSU, specifically includes 55.6% people of color—representing areas of education, healthcare and business—and is majority African American and female.
The Diversity Office at CSU provides development opportunities for students, faculty and staff and leads diversity training during freshman orientation as well as for all residence life staff. Our student-led African American Society is an integral part of our campus. They have won the student life award multiple times, including this year, for their work in providing multicultural awareness and opportunities for all CSU students to learn more about African American history, culture and current events. CSU also holds various exciting events annually, such as CultureFest, where the campus learns about food, dance, music and traditions from various countries and regions worldwide.
CSU’s commitment to diversity and equity is biblically informed, and we are currently reviewing our diversity practices to ensure that our campus community feels supported and safe.
What does CSU commit to do moving forward?
We will listen. We will learn. We will act.
CSU’s Diversity Office has an action plan with four focus areas: campus climate; recruitment, retention, graduation, and satisfaction of students from underrepresented populations; recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented populations; and, teaching, learning, and professional development. We consider the blessing of our great diversity as an obligation to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are not just words but a way of life on our campus and in our community.
The plan highlights the following action items:
- Develop and build on partnerships with area school districts, including implementing a Discovery Day for area students in Title I schools.
- Develop and implement an early alert process that provides first generation college and freshman students guidance in using campus resources such as internships, counseling, campus ministries, career placement, etc.
- Plan fall 2020 event that promotes unity around campus and will include prayer and a moment of silence for George Floyd and the many others who died tragically due to racist acts.
- Host a virtual town hall, “Ending Racial Injustice,” led by the Diversity Office and the African American Society.
- Host a series of listening sessions this fall that offer a venue for students, faculty and staff to speak about race, injustice and change in a safe, respectful environment.
- Implement best practices regarding organizational structures and institutional approaches for the Diversity Office and campus Diversity Council (comprised of faculty, staff and students).
- Support Christian organizations and nonprofits in our community that fight systemic poverty and racism.
- Develop and implement implicit bias training campuswide for all students, faculty and staff.
- Expand CultureFest celebration and events by celebrating cultures monthly and adding a National Diversity Day on CSU’s campus.
CSU stands firm with our Savior Jesus Christ that black lives matter. Period.