Equity & Inclusion at Otterbein University
Otterbein has a long-standing commitment to equity and inclusion that dates back to our founding.
It’s true that our history includes moments and commitments that can make us proud about Otterbein’s long-standing position of inclusiveness. It’s also true throughout our history–including current day–that we can and should expect more of ourselves as individuals, as a community, and as an institution.
We believe we’re better if we learn and grow together to address the issues. The work, the need for understanding and respect — it’s never done.
Read on to learn more about Otterbein’s ongoing commitment and the people and events that help shape our shared experience and our values.
On this page:
Otterbein student Desmond Fernandez talks about his experiences as a person of color on campus.
Faculty & Staff Diversity
Otterbein is committed to extending its legacy to recruit a more diverse faculty, student body and staff; to foster a climate that doesn’t just accommodate differences but celebrates them; and to provide rich opportunities for learning from our differences.
“One of my favorite queer theorists says that the most important question we can ask another human being is, ‘Who are you?’ Because through our ability to really hear the answer, the other person will get heard, seen, and understood.”
Dr. Suzanne Ashworth
Professor, Departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Recognized with the 2021 Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Award from the Ohio Diversity Council.
News - February 18, 2021Felicity Boykin ’24 The Otterbein University Graduate School’s annual Guest Lecture Series will feature a lecture by Kristy McCray, Ph.D., at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25. The lecture, “Let’s Get Humble,” will look at cultural humility and how to use these skills to create diverse, inclusive, and equitable workspaces. It is free and open to the public with registration at www.otterbein.edu/gradlecture. McCray is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Sport Sciences at Otterbein University. She teaches numerous courses on diversity and inclusion involving racial justice and cultural sensitivity. “We are less in a place where we have to explain…
News - January 20, 2021Community members and organizations, including Otterbein University and other key stakeholders in the greater Westerville area, have come together to commit to doing the important work necessary to defeat racism in the community in response to the tragic events of police brutality in 2020. Along with incidents across the country, two recent police shootings of unarmed Black men in central Ohio have brought the focus on racism in policing closer to home. When Otterbein senior Desmond Fernandez organized his first Black Lives Matters march in Westerville on June 3, 2020, he expected about 50 people, but approximately 1,000 members of the greater Westerville community attended. …
News - May 27, 2020When Frandie Francique graduated from Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS) in 2017, she felt prepared to enter college but still recognized that there were some skills she needed to work on. “CAHS is a college prep high school, so I felt ready to go academically. I was more concerned with taking charge of my life and deciding where I really wanted to go,” Francique said. “I knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone and find resources to polish my skills.” CAHS hosted a series of college…
Otterbein's Equity & Inclusion Statement
In its mission to be an inclusive community dedicated to educating the whole person in the context of humane values, Otterbein University is committed to the values and practices of diversity and inclusion. The Otterbein Community considers diversity a source of innovation, creativity, and human flourishing. Diversity refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance.Such differences include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.
To ensure that all members of the Otterbein Community have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the community, the University is committed to inclusive practices. In an inclusive organization, each person’s resources and contributions are recognized, respected, and used in service to the organization’s goals; it is a place where people feel valued, respected, and heard, and where people are fully able to contribute.
Otterbein considers diversity as an integral part of the University’s achievement of excellence. Diversity and inclusion have the ability to broaden and deepen both the educational experience and academic environment. In a diverse campus community that promotes inclusiveness, mutual respect, and open discussion, students, faculty, and staff have the ability to learn from their similarities, differences, and personal experiences. Such conditions foster the development of understanding and recognition, in that all members benefit from the opportunity to hear alternative points of view from diverse social groups, preparing them to participate in an increasingly complex, interdependent, and pluralistic world.
The practices of diversity and inclusion provide the conditions for life-long learning, as well as the conditions for exploration and human flourishing. Educational practices that incorporate civil communication and inclusive participation can promote mutual respect and make possible the full, effective use of the talents and abilities of all to foster innovation and excellence.
Otterbein is committed to recognizing and nurturing merit, talent, and achievement by supporting diversity and equal opportunity in its education, services, and administration, as well as research and creative activity. The University particularly acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of talented students, faculty, and staff from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.
If you see, hear or experience an incident of bias or discrimination, report it immediately to the Otterbein Police at 614-823-1222, or via the Silent Witness form. You should also contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at 614-823-1250. For a full list of reporting options, please read the Bias Incident Reporting Policy (PDF).