Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.

President's Message

Israel-Palestine Conflict and Its Impact on the Role of CDO's


I am writing to you today after carefully weighing how we as an organization lend our voice to the unfolding death and destruction in the Gaza strip that has tragically resulted in the most current recorded number of 230 deaths of Palestinians, many of whom are children, and 12 Israeli deaths. Too many are living in fear, and while a cease fire is currently in place, the tensions in the region are significant and have a complex and lengthy history that extends past these most recent tragic events. Our work and advocacy focus on higher education issues, and most typically those within the borders of the U.S. However, this conflict has touched many in our colleges, universities and communities, so we must speak out. We condemn all violence that results in the harm and loss of lives that we have witnessed over the last week. Our hope as an organization is for a peaceful long-term solution that provides dignity and security to those in the region that includes Gaza and Israel. We must strive for peace and understanding and a way to live and work together for a more just world and society.

In our roles as senior diversity officers in higher education, we recognize that the complexities of what is currently taking place are rooted in a history that, for many of us, extend well beyond our understanding and lived experiences, but can lead to disruption on our campuses. As an organization, our core values and standards of practice can guide us in our work going forward.

“Standard One: Chief diversity officers have ethical, legal, and practical obligations to frame their work from comprehensive definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion—definitions that are inclusive with respect to a wide range of identities, differentiated in terms of how they address unique identity issues and complex in terms of intersectionality and context.”  

Our work includes addressing issues that range from discrimination based on race, ethnicity and national origin, to Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes that disrupt the lives of our students, faculty and staff. How we support those committed to providing a supportive campus community is an appropriate question in today’s current climate.


To further this discussion, NADOHE is developing a webinar to assist diversity professionals understand the complexity of this conflict and frame strategies and approaches for continued dialogue, reflection and understanding on our respective campuses and communities. The webinar will feature prominent scholars and experts who can address the various sides of the issue. In the meantime, we ask that our campuses support our students and colleagues. We also strongly suggest that our institutions provide the resources and respond quickly in the event individuals and groups are targeted for discrimination or harassment in violation of institutional policy based on religion, national origin, and ethnicity.

NADOHE is the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers in higher education and with more than 1,100 members representing 750 colleges and universities, NADOHE's mission is to lead higher education towards inclusive excellence through institutional transformation. For more information about NADOHE, visit www.nadohe.org

 

Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.
President, NADOHE