Cullinan Addresses EWU Community in Diversity Dialogue

EWU+President+Mary+Cullinan+at+a+Dialogue+on+Diversity+in+2017.+In+the+guest+column+this+week%2C+Cullinan+asks+students+to+appreciate+those+who+work+behind+the+scenes+to+keep+EWU+running.

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EWU President Mary Cullinan at a Dialogue on Diversity in 2017. In the guest column this week, Cullinan asks students to appreciate those who work behind the scenes to keep EWU running.

By Emily Guidinger Hunt, for The Easterner

EWU’s Presidential Dialogues on Diversity, hosted Jan. 30 by President Mary Cullinan, illuminated the importance of building rapport between members of the campus community and local law enforcement.

The open invitation letter sent by Cullinan to the community posed the questions of ”how do we work together to ensure that we have safe campus environments where the rights of all are respected” and “how do we build and enhance respectful relationships between law enforcement officers and our campus constituencies?”

These topics were addressed in the first of a two-part series in which community members, students, faculty and staff engaged in conversation with representatives from the university and the community relating to important issues concerning diversity on campus.

EWU Chief of Police Tim Walters and Sgt. Jay Day were joined on the panel by Lt. Tracie Meidl of the Spokane Police Department, Bishop Shon L. Davis of the Kingdom Fellowship Church Alliance and Christina Seldon, president of the EWU Black Student Union.

Walters said that a priority for the EWU Police is to “integrate into the fabric of the community” by emphasizing the evolution of a culture that embraces law enforcement as the “guardians of our safety and well-being.”

Cullinan encouraged participants to seek a balance of diversity on campus by engaging in authentic interaction with each other and by practicing the art of listening.

“We have to stay focused as a campus,” said Cullinan. “We have to stay one as an institution.”

EWU senior, Elizabeth Shaw, expressed her views during the round table conversation segment.

“Every community is different,” said Shaw. “It is hard for us here to fully understand Ferguson; to understand Baltimore, because our experiences are so different. We are such an overwhelmingly white population.”

When asked about the stance EWU Police is taking to make all students feel safe on campus, Shaw said she is cautiously optimistic about it and hopeful. She said she hopes campus police follow through on what they said today and she hopes that because of events like this, campus police officers will be held accountable.   

In the second installment of EWU Presidential Dialogues on Diversity, Cullinan’s objective is to tackle the question of “how do we foster understanding to help ensure that our campuses are safe learning environments for all people, regardless of culture or religion?”

The segment, titled “Islamophobia,” will occur Mar. 6, 2017, in the Hargreaves Reading Room and is open to all members of EWU and the surrounding community as well as online via live stream through the EWU Office of the President webpage.