Respect, Tolerance, and Inclusiveness at the School of Dentistry – 2016

Dear School of Dentistry Community,

Intolerance and bias comes in all forms such as religious, racial, sexual orientation or identity, age, gender, and educational or social status.   It is important for us to demonstrate our exemplary character and values in all we do, to all we meet, and to all with whom we interact. As an academic and healthcare institution, intolerance should never find a home at the School of Dentistry.  The expectation is all people that learn, work, and receive care at the School of Dentistry and VCU Dental Care are treated with respect and dignity, provided privacy of their health and personal information, and enjoy freedom of expression without fear of retaliation.  This is my expectation and I ask that everyone join me in that expectation.  The establishment and maintenance of a humanistic environment is everyone’s responsibility and each and every person must take ownership of ensuring a school culture of inclusiveness and tolerance.

According to the VCU Creed: Philosophy for a University Community

“Academic institutions exist, among other reasons, to discover, advance and transmit knowledge and to develop in their students, faculty and staff the capacity for creative and critical thought.  At Virginia Commonwealth University, members of the community should strive to exemplify the following specific ideals in addition to other worthy ideals:

  • To demonstrate academic and personal integrity.
  • To respect the rights and property of others.
  • To be open to others’ opinions.
  • To uphold academic freedom and freedom of intellectual inquiry.
  • To appreciate diversity and to value and learn from the uniqueness of each person.
  • To uphold the right of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect and to refrain from all forms of intimidation, harassment and illegal discrimination.
  • To demonstrate and respect intellectual courage in situations that demand it.”

The VCU Code of Conduct is explicit and defines Real Expectations of all employees.  Similarly, the VCU Student Code of Conduct sets expectations for students.   All members of the VCU Community are required to engage in responsible social conduct that reflects credit upon the University community and to model good citizenship in any community.

As I stated last evening during the Dean’s Dinner with our student leadership, the deans in the dean’s office are there to help any student who feels they need to discuss any problem, including those related to respect and inclusion.  In addition, these are resources available to student, staff, and faculty at VCU to discuss or assist you with these issues:

Division of Inclusive Excellence  (http://www.inclusive.vcu.edu/)
University Counseling Services (http://www.students.vcu.edu/counseling/)
Wellness Resource Center (http://thewell.vcu.edu/
The VCU Dean of Students, Dr. Reuban Rodriguez (vcudean@vcu.edu)
The VCU Student Assistance and Support Team (safetycasemgr@vcu.edu)
Equity and Access Services and Title IX Compliance (http://equity.vcu.edu/)
VCU Employee Relations (emprel@vcu.edu or 828-1510)
VCU Dental Care Employee Relations (828-8873)
VCU Ombudsperson (http://ombudsperson.vcu.edu/)
VCU Helpline (www.vcuhelpline.com)
VCU Employee Assistance Program (http:// www.anthemeap.com)
VCU Dental Care Employee Assistance Program (1-800-327 2255)

I welcome your thoughts on this message and the accompanying expectations.  Please take a moment to view this short video of what your fellow VCU community members said “What does respect look like at VCU?”

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