We Are All Webster: Building community from many identities, owning our biases, infusing diversity with inclusion | Webster University

A Message from the President, Provost, and Chief Diversity Officer

 Feb. 13, 2019

To the Webster University community:

In light of recent events in Virginia and other places, Webster University's Emerson Library staff, including Dean Eileen Condon and Archivist Kathy Gaynor, reviewed materials this week in Webster's archives, including yearbooks and other documents.

Following their discovery and our meeting with them, we take the opportunity to issue this statement:

For archival purposes, Webster University preserves historical photos, documents, yearbooks and student newspapers. Scholars can access these materials to research past events at the institution and explore the context surrounding those events. Some of these materials include content which may be highly offensive by today's standards. The photos and language in the materials published decades ago are reflective of the values and standards deemed acceptable at that time. Today many of us will find this content offensive and unacceptable.

Some of the content in historical photos, documents, yearbooks, and student newspapers is abhorrent and appalling, and we openly reject biased and racist views. We also acknowledge that it is part of our history, which is why we are preserving these offensive photos, documents and publications and letting them remain in their original forms. As an academic institution committed to critical analysis, we must honestly recognize these troubling views. To deny this history would be dishonest. We must shed light on past injustices and errors, analyze all the evidence, acknowledge how far we have evolved, and identify how much more needs to be accomplished in order to attain true equity and inclusion for our community.

Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, Ph.D.

Julian Z. Schuster, Ph.D.
Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Vincent C. Flewellen, MSW
Chief Diversity Officer