Statement on White House Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping

On Sept. 22, the White House issued an executive order regarding “race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” that, among other actions, seeks to limit important training by public institutions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Much of the content of the White House’s order runs counter to strongly held values by Eastern Michigan University. 

While we are still examining the order, we are deeply concerned over any order that would seek to erase, minimize, or change the quality of diversity and equity training designed to promote racial and sexual equality. On its face, this order purports to affect the content of federal staff training and eventually, all training conducted by federal contractors and pursuant to federal grants. 

Eastern Michigan University embraces a culture of inclusivity and comprehensive, rigorous inquiry. As outlined in our mission statement, “we are an institution of opportunity, where students learn in and beyond the classroom to benefit the local and global communities.” This mission rests on core values including respect, integrity and responsibility. 

We promote an inclusive environment that supports, represents, embraces and engages members of diverse groups and identities.

We succeed through understanding and respecting the experiences and backgrounds of our students, faculty and staff. We value the communities and the environment in which we live and show respect for the dignity of individuals.

We are a community strongly dedicated to free speech and mutual understanding. As a campus community, we must engage in difficult conversations, learn from our mistakes, and ensure training and processes that push us out of our comfort zones and help us evolve.  

There are major movements afoot, such as Black Lives Matter and the Women's March, the roots and lessons of which must be acknowledged and studied. We are in a time of major societal change, and we at Eastern Michigan refuse to sit on the sidelines of such critical cultural and intellectual discussion and evolution. 

We proudly assert our commitment to creating improved learning opportunities for all members of our University community and to becoming better and more empathetic citizens of our city, state and country. 

James Smith

Rhonda Longworth
Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

October 01, 2020

Written by:
Official Statements

Geoff Larcom