Commitment to Our Core Values
Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,
I write to you amid advancing legislation in Columbus, an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the potential for more developments in these early months of the 2024 election cycle that will have impacts on our university.
I have spent a considerable amount of time speaking on our behalf in meetings with the author of Ohio Senate Bill 83 at the Statehouse, with Gov. Mike DeWine, with Ohio’s higher education chancellor and with presidential colleagues from across the Ohio public universities. I have worked to make clear how our university would be affected by various elements of the legislation. As we closed the spring semester, I used my live Talking With Todd session to update the faculty and staff on my efforts and to answer many questions, including several of the same questions we still hear being asked across the university today. I urge you to review this segment or to see and hear it for the first time.
Your Kent State administration and I understand and appreciate the concerns and uncertainty that are affecting many in our university – students, faculty and staff. In the coming days, Kent State will launch an online site for our community, with updates and our latest fact-based assessments of how our people and operations would be affected by key final state legislation and the anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action. As I write, nothing is final. We expect that actions will be coming shortly, even in days.
We will do our best to comply with whatever is coming from Columbus and Washington. But nothing will force us to alter who we are at our core, as a great public university, and what we arrived upon, as a community, when we created our strategic roadmap. In particular, I am especially proud of our mutually agreed-upon values, found here on our website.
One core value best captures our aspiration to be a supportive community: respect, kindness and purpose in all we do. In this time of polarization, let’s recommit to fostering the application of our Kent State values to our university life. Higher education offers solutions to societal divisions, and an ultimate, historic and tragic outcome of division shapes Kent State’s perspective still today.
Universities value the free expression of ideas and diverse intellectual points of view. Given the tensions and uncertainties of the day I ask us all to follow what I’ve been thinking of lately as the Golden Flash Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated, and treat others as they wish to be treated
A big year is coming. In fact, it’s already here. We will live through difficulties, but it is my strongest commitment that we, as Kent State, will be strong, proud and focused on the mission we serve: to provide access to opportunity to our diverse community of learners, faculty and staff across our campuses here in Ohio and around the world.