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President John McVay Discusses Diversity at Walla Walla University


Editor’s note: This article and video interview were originally published by North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) and are reprinted here with permission.

After an unfortunate social post by several Walla Walla University (WWU) students brought concerns over racism and diversity to the forefront, the university has been intentional about addressing these concerns.

On April 3, John McVay, WWU president, spoke candidly to students, staff and faculty in a campus-wide CommUnity meeting, emphasizing the core values of a Christian body of believers. His powerful address with other germane questions and answers are available on the university’s website.

In addition, Steve Vistaunet, Gleaner editor, conducted a 30-minute video interview with McVay on April 17. During that interview, McVay acknowledged that the initial social media incident has provided the university with an opportunity to reflect on deeper issues of diversity and positive ways forward. He highlighted eight specific areas of diversity focus that will be immediately addressed. Watch the entirety of that interview below.

Eight areas of focus for immediate diversity work at Walla Walla University with external review by qualified experts:

  1. Enhancing strategies to attract diverse students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Benchmarking within higher education to identify best diversity practices (for example, Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award).
  3. Expanding diversity education opportunities and objectives for students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Focusing attention on curriculum modifications, especially in our general studies program.
  5. Carefully auditing our policies and procedures to remove any barriers to progress in diversity.
  6. Identifying feedback mechanisms for all members of our campus family.
  7. Developing a diversity scorecard, which will help us visualize progress.
  8. Offering an annual diversity report to our stakeholders.

WATCH Gleaner Dialogue: WWU Diversity Discussion with John McVay

Further Reading:

Photo of Students in Blackface Points to Walla Walla University’s Diversity Problem
Walla Walla University Responds Directly To Racist Image Imbroglio


Image Credit: Video still /


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