Editor’s Note: Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University President, Martha Spieker is responding “The elephant in the room” in the most recent edition of The Mast.
As we dig into the school year, I am glad to see so much conversation regarding inclusive dialogue on campus. I was intrigued to read the most recent issue of The Mast, which detailed the sentiments of some conservatives on campus. Pacific Lutheran University’s mission statement does indeed place a large importance on community, and that value is something that ASPLU seeks to encourage and support.
The importance of a diversity of voices on campus is critical. Hearing from people who do not think like us is how we grow. It’s how we challenge our perceptions. It’s also how we practice radical inclusivity. We need to be certain that the Lute culture is a place where everyone can be included in dialogue– and that goes for voices of minorities as much as it does for conservatives. I appreciate the sentiment of the published article, but also think it’s important to recognize the context in which these conversations and struggles occur, acknowledging those who may feel hurt by the language used and comparisons made.
ASPLU intends to continue creating spaces for dialogue to ensure that the student body can hear one another, and that those messages can be passed accurately to the administration. As I mentioned in my convocation speech, ASPLU and the student body are only successful when we collaborate. It is ASPLU’s job to provide forums to have conversations about inclusivity of all kinds to the PLU community. ASPLU will do just that. Be on the lookout for conversations and forums like Senator Steve Schumaker’s discussion about guns on college campuses towards the end of this month and other “ASPLU to You” forums. Each individual voice is valued on campus. Let’s be sure to continue these conversations as a community that thoughtfully welcomes all Lute voices.