In light of events and discussions on college campuses across the country, it is important for us to remember that we strive to emphasize diversity in every sense at Hofstra: in our classrooms, in our campus life and in all aspects of our community. Education and awareness of our history, our cultures and customs allow us to understand and respect one another. It is at the foundation of a liberal arts education and the basis for living in a democratic society. We also believe that a college campus must be a safe space, a place where students can explore who they are and who they will become, living with and learning from people of all backgrounds.
Our university calendar is built around diversity and the issues that surround it, from the celebration of our cultural awareness months to academic programs in African, Latin American and Caribbean, LGBT, women’s and other cross-cultural studies, religion, and global studies. The Cultural Center produces programming for African-American History Month, Latin American and Caribbean Studies lectures, Issues in Judaism, to name a few, as well as the Astman Concert Series, which features global music. Our office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion encourages and facilitates the efforts of dozens of student groups, representing numerous cultural identity and interest groups. Just this week, our National Center for Suburban Studies hosted its seventh annual diversity awards dinner, celebrating the unique diversity of America’s first suburb.
Our work, however, is not done. As long as there is injustice anywhere, we must be vigilant in educating, discussing and creating awareness and understanding around issues of diversity. A diverse and free community is critical to the success of a great university, and Hofstra University has long had a sustained commitment to fostering an atmosphere of tolerance, understanding and interconnection with each other and with the world around us – local, national and international.
To have an open exchange about diversity means we must be equally committed to dialogue, the difficult discourse that leads to a greater understanding between people. We cannot shy away from talking about diversity and multiculturalism, but it is often words that lead to the divisions between us. Speech on campus must remain free and open, while each of us pledge to maintaining the kind of civil and respectful discourse for which great universities are known, and from which knowledge and acceptance comes.
Diversity is and will remain at the heart of our mission statement: “Hofstra University is devoted to recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse academic community of students, faculty, staff and administrators respectful of the contributions and dignity of each of its members.”
We will remain unwavering in our commitment to making our campus welcoming, inclusive and diverse. We are and will continue to be available to discuss, listen and make our campus, and ultimately our world, a better place.
— President Stuart Rabinowitz