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WIU President Guiyou Huang: WIU Establishes Universitywide Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

December 22, 2021

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Dear University Community,

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the Black Student Association (BSA) Executive Board and student leaders for their leadership. In Fall 2020, the BSA presented the previous WIU administration with a list of 11 demands, which include re-establishing the African-American Studies Program, working toward a more diverse employee population and more to ensure a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution. We recently submitted a summary response to these demands, meeting with the BSA leadership to gain feedback. I would like to thank the BSA leadership and its members for their honest and forthright assessment. We need to do more.

We have heard, and we are listening to, our students. We know that actions speak louder than words; therefore, our priority is to truly ensure that our words align with action and that Western Illinois University is a community dedicated to anti-racism.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the University Diversity Council, which is a presidential advisory group composed of students, faculty, and staff, for drafting a new Diversity Statement for Western Illinois University.

The Office of the President has had in place for many years a Statement on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), which reflects the president's and the University's commitment, and the Division of Academic Affairs also has a published commitment to diversity. While these statements certainly reflect the University as a whole, to better manifest our institution's commitment, along with my personal guarantee to making DEI initiatives a priority when I took the job as your 12th president, the University Diversity Council has created a Universitywide statement that we will all stand by and uphold.

In addition to the Universitywide Diversity Statement, I am establishing an Anti-Racism Task Force in Spring 2022, which will include students, faculty, and staff from both campuses, to uphold our commitment to DEI and to combat racism. Beginning in Spring 2022, we are also launching training modules for our University community. In January 2022, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access will launch anti-racism training for employees and students, and in March, employee training will be launched focusing on Title IX and harassment.

You are welcome at WIU, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, and veteran status. Each of you matters and deserves a respectful, civil, and supportive living, learning, and working environment. Working with one another, we will make a difference for not only the betterment of WIU, but for our communities.

Thank you.

Guiyou Huang, Ph.D.
Western Illinois University

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Relations