Statement on Ethical and Inclusive Living

Susquehanna University is an institution of higher education that brings learners of different backgrounds, experiences, and talents into dialogue as they pursue knowledge and wisdom together. We commit to maintaining and fostering a safe and welcoming campus environment that aids us all in the process of lifelong learning and the cultivation of good character. As Susquehanna continues its quest to embody the rich diversity of the human community, we are committed to the full participation of all persons representing the breadth of human differences.

With a long-standing ethos of collaboration, our community focuses on the development of cross-cultural relationships marked by mutual curiosity, cooperation, and respect. To that end, we must actively seek to identify and reject systemic and individual biases against individuals based on race, ethnicity, national or geographic origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, social class, age, religion, political affiliation, and marital or parental status. Each individual’s identity is intersectional, deriving varying degrees of advantages and/or limitations from the experiences that frame our lives.

Our community relies upon teaching and advising practices and professional behaviors that promote critical engagement with diversity that seek to understand how the differences among us affect our lived experiences, the beliefs that emerge from and frame those experiences, and the impact of power and privilege on our lives. We hold up our differences as a vital asset to our success as an academic community. We pursue justice and reject injustice in all forms. This is essential for effective teaching and learning, equitable governance and decision-making, and healthy community life.

At Susquehanna University, we translate our ideals into action by aspiring to live by the following values, which are central to our common aspiration to moral and intellectual improvement:

  • Curiosity – Susquehannans invite wonder into our daily lives. There is always more to understand and more opportunity for improvement in how we live our lives. We strive to learn more about our world and ourselves, and how we can make a positive impact on each. We understand that our curiosity may sometimes lead to discomfort as we confront difficult issues and ideas, and we resolve not to avoid such challenges.

  • Free Inquiry – Susquehannans commit to having safe, respectful, and authentic dialogues.We emphasize freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of speech. We believe benefits are derived from sharing perspectives, understandings, and expectations with others – even when they may be in conflict with those held by some in the community. These conflicts are not to be avoided, but threatening or hateful acts are never tolerated. Talking across difference is an opportunity for learning and growth.

  • Cross-Cultural Competence – Susquehannans strive to be truly global citizens endeavoring to be ever more capable of building friendship and working together. Our campus, our region, and our Global Opportunities (GO) programs are places for learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of those in our community and beyond.

  • Courage – Susquehannans value the bravery of facing our own potential for growth, while challenging stereotypes. We recognize that the search for truth is foundational to the development of character. We stand up for all by actively opposing any type of injustice.

  • Humble Self-Awareness – Susquehannans endeavor to learn from our mistakes, seize opportunities for individual and community improvement, and embrace growth by learning from others. Every individual is unique; so we each seek to understand our personal strengths and limitations, perspectives, hopes and fears. There is no limit to knowledge; no individual has all the answers. We admit that even our best collective reasoning can be wrong.

  • Kindness – Susquehannans aim to empathize with others and provide care and comfort when able. Every person experiences failures and we can benefit from help, comfort, and support. Kindness is a virtue that makes Susquehanna home to all members of our community.

  • Justice – Susquehannans work to understand the various concepts of justice and what they mean. We believe in the importance of hearing all voices in our decision-making processes. We actively work to promote fairness in our organizations.

  • Wellness – Susquehannans honor the well-being of every individual and practice healthy community life. Our practices, policies, processes, and relationships should always be free from violence, exploitation, intimidation, and any other behaviors that are harmful to our health and well-being.

As we go forward into Susquehanna’s future, we seek to reconcile unmet challenges and expectations from past endeavors to preserve Susquehanna as a welcoming, diverse and inclusive university. We strive to make Susquehanna a place that affirms the dignity and worth of all persons. We reaffirm our long-standing commitment to promoting inclusion and advancing even greater diversity among the student body, the faculty, the staff in all categories of employment, and the Board of Trustees. We welcome the experiences and contributions of all who learn, live, or work at Susquehanna. We will engage our community in Selinsgrove and throughout the Central Susquehanna Valley to exercise a positive influence in our region, our nation, and our world. We do this consistent with our belief in the pursuit of equality of opportunity for all, and with attentiveness to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

We believe these values and commitments are morally and educationally necessary, essential to being a viable and competitive institution of higher learning in the 21st century, and indispensable in educating “undergraduate students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world.”