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Equity Statement

Southwest Minnesota State strives to create a welcoming inclusive community where all faculty, students, staff and administrators' differences are valued. The diversity of our student body and employees as well as the multitude of life experiences, domestic and foreign is one of our greatest assets. In all its deliberations during the COVID-19 pandemic, SMSU will consider the ways that the virus affects faculty, staff, and students from marginalized groups and will endeavor to resolve any disparate impacts as they emerge. Although it is normal to experience feelings of fear, concern, and anxiety during this public health crisis, we cannot allow our judgment to become clouded, or lead us to target, stigmatize or discriminate against any individual or group.

We support our employee and student populations, especially those of Asian‐descent who may experience the impact of xenophobic behaviors, racism or be treated differently on our campus or in the surrounding community because of fears related to the spread of the COVID‐19 virus. There is no excuse for xenophobia or discrimination, and it will not be tolerated on our campus.

To do our part to stay kind, stay healthy and stay safe we pledge to:

  1. Reject racism, sexism, xenophobia (prejudicial actions against people from other countries), bigotry (intolerance for those with different opinions from oneself) and racism, treating all with respect.
  2. Be an ally to our diverse community and an "up-stander"; when able to, speak up to discourage others from engaging in disrespectful comments or behavior. Be respectful and value the important roles of each inter-professional team member.
  3. Refer to the virus as either "COVID-19" or "coronavirus" in both oral and written communications. Refrain from using terms such as “Chinese Virus” which cast either intentional or unintentional slights or microaggressions, especially toward our Asian communities, and not allow the use of such terms by others.
  4. Be an advocate and champion for our vulnerable populations in need as health care disparities are often magnified in times of crisis that place significant demands on the health care system. For example, consider how telehealth may impact patients with limited technology resources and consider how to convey new messages and instructions at the appropriate literacy level, to those differently abled, or faced with language barriers.
  5. Be mindful that in times of crisis, it is the people in underrepresented and marginalized groups who may disproportionately bear the brunt of sudden change. Be vigilant of microaggressions that may appear in different ways in the online and remote settings.
  6. Be mindful of unequal access to technology while using remote instruction, such as arranging access to borrowed laptops and/or Wi-Fi. Ask about challenges and concerns and use that information to inform courses. Ensure accessibility for our students with disabilities when using online learning. Ensure web accessibility for students with disabilities when using online learning or remote instruction. Disability Services | Southwest Minnesota State University Seek to ensure all students have accessible seating in classrooms. 
  7. Build an inclusive digital community. Advocate for students and employees who may have fewer resources. Many students rely on the housing, dining, health care and employment provided on campus. Allow for access to campus food pantries (such as Mustang Market | Southwest Minnesota State University), and basic health care needs Student Health Services | Southwest Minnesota State University
  8. Support all our health care workers, first responders, and essential workers who are on the front line of this pandemic, "flatten the curve" by attending to the local and federal health guidelines, and practicing self-care, being sure to make time for our own physical and emotional needs.

The contents of this page reflect some of the best practices and ideas from a variety of institutions and organizations from across the county.

Last Modified: 11/4/20 11:36 AM