President Simmons calls for ‘human dignity’ plan, addresses diversity


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by Madi Wilson, Staff Reporter

Simpson College held an open discussion Friday afternoon in Kent to engage the community regarding diversity issues.

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Considering the series of racial incidents that recently happened at the University of Missouri, president Jay Simmons decided it was an appropriate time to discuss racial issues happening on Simpson’s campus and ways to improve the campus’ environment.

“Over the next 60 days,” Simmons said, “I am going to ask all of us to engage in some dialogue and every setting on campus and every opportunity we have and talk about what it means to be human and what it means to have dignity at Simpson College.”

During the discussion, several students and faculty came forward and shared their views and ideas about diversity issues.

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Tracy Dinesen, associate professor of Spanish and director of general education, emphasized the importance of communication regarding racial issues.

“We have marvelous, amazing students from all walks of life,” Dinesen said. “We have amazing faculty who can actually achieve real change. We have an administration that’s supportive. But if we’re going to be honest, and we’re going to be real, we’re going to have to have the tough conversations.”

Simpson’s Diversity Steering Committee hopes to come to a better understanding of the college’s culture, prioritize outreach in the community and talk about staffing in terms of minority.

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Walter Lain, assistant dean of multicultural and international affairs, shared his thoughts on bringing change to the Simpson community.

“We need to make it real and the way we make it real is to get involved and do something about it,” Lain said. “We all have to own part of the responsibility, but also I think that we have to acknowledge the pain.”

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Simmons plans to have another open discussion on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to discuss and develop a “human dignity” plan for Simpson.