A message from President Davis
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to share with you the full report on our Campus Climate Assessment, which we recently received from our consulting team. I encourage you take a few minutes to read the report and its recommendations.
Furman University is committed to fostering a thriving campus community where everyone has a sense of belonging and feels supported. We conducted the climate assessment in Fall 2021 to help us understand how members of our community feel about being a part of Furman and where we can improve to ensure that we are living out our values, which call on us “to advance thriving communities that honor inquiry, promote diversity, (and) strive for equity.”
Presentations of initial findings in the spring (video) revealed that students, faculty and staff believe Furman is making progress. But the data also show that many members of our community, particularly those who are Black and/or LGBTQ+, do not experience the same levels of support or belonging as the rest of the campus. This must change.
It is our responsibility to reflect on these findings and use them to guide our attention and efforts to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment.
As a next step, I will convene leaders across campus who are responsible for DEI efforts in our various units to advise me as we address the report and its recommendations. As part of our efforts, we will catalog and report on the actions we have already taken, including hiring and promoting faculty and staff focused on advancing DEI initiatives, implementing educational programs with a focus on DEI and belonging, such as the Pathways Program, and the work being done by the DEI Committee.
In another important step, we will begin a national search this semester for a Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, elevating the position of chief diversity officer as recommended in the report and by the Ad Hoc Committee on Black Life at Furman.
Achieving a community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and support doesn’t begin or end with a report. Clearly, we have much work to do, but I am encouraged, and I hope you are, too. In the year since we launched the climate assessment, we have laid much of the groundwork. But this work is urgent and continuous, and it will require all of us working together, as our values call for, “with courage, moderation, justice, wisdom, and humility.”
We will continue to update the campus and this site with information about our plans and progress.
Thank you for your support of this important work.
September 2, 2022