Kent State University Pledge of Unity and Inclusion
We, the people of a united Kent State community, remain committed to our core values that frame our work and our actions as we strive to live our vision of bettering society. We value diversity of culture, beliefs, identity and thought. We value freedom of expression, the free exchange of ideas and other civil liberties. Our commitment to these values is heightened by our institution’s distinct history—when four Kent State students were killed and nine injured on May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard during a demonstration on our Kent campus.
We are also grounded in the value of a collaborative community. And, above all, we value respect, kindness and purpose in all that we do. Our values provide the cornerstone for our work together as a united community. We believe in being a safe place, where all are welcomed to live and learn and grow together. Our non-discrimination statement is broad and serves as one of the most inclusive statements of non-discrimination in higher education:
Kent State University’s policy sets forth the expectations and responsibilities for maintaining an educational and employment environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. This policy “prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, age, military status, or identity as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, recently separated veteran, or other protected veteran. Harassment directed toward an individual or a group, through any means, including electronic, and based on any of these categories is a form of unlawful discrimination. The university encourages an atmosphere in which the diversity of its members is understood and appreciated, free of discrimination and harassment based on the above categories. Thus, all members of the university are expected to join in creating a positive atmosphere in which individuals can learn and work in an environment that is respectful and supportive of the dignity of all individuals.
Based on our core values and our commitment to being a welcoming community that strives to provide intellectual challenge in a physically safe environment, we declare our united support for the following actions and policies:
- Student records are subject to strict privacy protections under university policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Kent State University will not share confidential student information, such as immigration status, unless required by state and federal law or if public safety is threatened.
- Kent State University will remain engaged with the Scholars at Risk initiative. Scholars at Risk protects international scholars facing serious threats to their lives, liberty and well-being from their home country, in part by arranging for positions at institutions in the network for those forced to flee.
- University Administration and our Department of Public Safety will not compromise our commitment to respect and safety and will comply with KSU's non-discrimination statement and policies on protection of individual rights. The university will not share immigration status unless legally required to do so or in the event of exigent circumstances such as an imminent risk to health or safety.
- Kent State does not use E-verify for any purposes other than to comply with longstanding federal law regarding employment eligibility.
- Kent State will remain a strong proponent of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas. As such, we are a community that engages in conversations and discussions where civil discourse and freedom of speech are a hallmark of this ideal.
The following resources are available for the united Kent State community and will be strengthened with more clear and public dissemination of those resources available:
- Students who are currently covered through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Executive Order (DACA) have access to resources and support through the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Division of Student Affairs. In cases where legal counsel is requested, DACA students will be connected with pro bono legal services available in the local community.
- The Office of Global Education has specialized knowledge and training regarding immigration and visa status. International students, faculty or staff who have questions about available resources are encouraged to visit the office. In cases where legal counsel is requested, international students will be connected with pro bono legal services available in the local community.
- University Stewards will continue as an available resource for all students. University Stewards are passionate members of the Kent State faculty and staff who are specially trained to serve as points of support, resource and referral for students, particularly related to campus climate concerns. The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with The Division of Student Affairs, provides clear and public contact information for access to a University Steward at http://www.kent.edu/universitystewards.
- Psychological Services provides individual therapy for students and offers student support groups, including the International Student Success support group. More details are available at http://www.kent.edu/psych. Additional resources for each campus location are highlighted at www.kent.edu/stepupspeakout. Select ‘campus resources’ for your primary campus location.
- The Counseling Center (formerly the Counseling and Human Development Center) provides mental health counseling for students, faculty and staff free of charge. More information is available at www.kent.edu/ehhs/centers/chdc.
- Faculty and staff can access additional psychological counseling through Impact Solutions. For more details, visit: https://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/employee-assistance-program-impact-solu....
- The Psychological Clinic provides counseling for individuals, couples, children and families for a nominal fee. More information is available at https://www.kent.edu/kent/psychological-clinic
#KentStateUnited is our distinctive pledge of inclusion and civility, encouraging all members of the Kent State family to openly affirm that we are a community where all are welcomed and supported. We pledge to stand in unity, with an unwavering commitment to inclusivity, where every member of our community shares responsibility for supporting and respecting all who choose to live, learn and work within our eight-campus system. We pledge to choose pathways that celebrate the strength of our diversity, where voices are respected even when we disagree. We pledge that our actions will serve to better society, and elevate Kent State University as a national model for inclusion, civility and unity.
Endorsed by Faculty Senate on March 13, 2017
How to use the #KentStateUnited Hashtag
The hashtag #KentStateUnited has been created as unifying element that will help identify events and happenings that demonstrate unity on our campuses.
- Events that are tagged for our unity effort will be added to the #KentStateUnited event web page. All departments, divisions and campuses may use this tag to populate the #KentStateUnited tag page.
- #KentStateUnited may also be used on materials that convey a theme or initiative around unity. The graphic mark may be used on all events and happenings that demonstrate unity under Kent State United.