A Letter of inquiry to IWU’s incoming president

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Casey Williams, Staff Writer

 

Dr. Jensen,

Tuesday, Oct. 20 marked the beginning of the end of the so-called “Wilson Era” and subsequently commenced the beginning of yours. To honor this momentous occasion, we, the students of Illinois Wesleyan University, want to congratulate and welcome you to our remarkable school.

While most of us were not here to see, first-hand, the entire impact of President Wilson’s contributions, we can all admire his diligence and dedication of which we have seen presently. President Wilson’s commitment to sustainability, inclusion and general improvement is what made him so important to those who proudly deem themselves Titans.

We have President Wilson, along with the help of many others, to thank for endorsing SafeZone training and other vital LGBTQIA+ programs, IWU’s first LEED certified building and a critical revamping of this school’s involvement in cultural sensitivity and inclusion.

And while we are all very sad to see President Wilson step down, we look forward to what is to come. Many students, such as F:EM Co-president, Jordan Prats, are hoping that their principal concerns of “[academic administration], diversity, justice, campus safety and the feeling of inclusion” will be addressed during this time.

The campus safety issue, especially in the past few months, has become a growing concern to many on and off-campus students. We want promotion of programs that will increase student health and security, as well as decrease incidents on campus. This is a small, but impactful, move to help give us peace of mind.

Resentment and disappointment have deep roots in the administration of academic courses. Many students majoring in the visual arts, and other less-populated fields, feel they are not equally represented in the number of classes offered, the number of faculty members to a department, and the flexibility in scheduling.

“A school this small cannot afford to be cancelling classes,” said Kyla Thomas, a senior art major. “We need more professors.”

Furthermore, we feel that scheduling and other administrative complications should not be a factor in whether or not we are able to earn our degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

Lastly, our faculty and student body, while highly intelligent and impressive, are severely lacking in diversity. We are aware that only so much can be done to increase the minority groups at IWU, but by emphasizing the importance of diversity in admissions and faculty employment and promoting our devotion to inclusion, we feel that we would be able to best maximize our efforts.

“I want to see [Jensen] hit the ground running with the school’s need for diversity and cultural sensitivity from all aspects: faculty, staff and students,” said Student Senate Inclusion and Awareness Commissioner, Emani Johnson. “I think that with the momentum from the movement it’s best for him to match the motivation of the students that are working for this because ultimately nothing can be changed without him aboard.”

Likewise, a group of students who gathered earlier this semester in response to the derogatory message written near the Aspirations fountain agreed that “faculty and staff sensitivity training” would increase campus faith in their ability to protect their interests.

It is a daunting and difficult thing to ask that all these things be addressed, but we feel that being chosen to take over for President Wilson warrants such high expectations.

In short, Dr. Jensen, you have some big shoes to fill and we encourage you to follow in the footsteps – and even further – than the presidents before you.

Sincerely,

A student of Illinois Wesleyan University