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JIDE office opens at WIU

Rich Egger
Ron Pettigrew (left), Program Director of WIU’s Veterans Resource Center, and Carl Ervin, Interim Director of WIU's Office of Justice, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, at this week’s open house for JIDE’s new office in the University Union.

Western Illinois University’s new office of Justice, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity now has a permanent home.

The office, which was temporarily housed in the Multicultural Center, is now located in Suite 110 on the first floor of the University Union.

Interim Director Carl Ervin said he is excited to have the JIDE offices in such a highly visible location.

“It says a lot about the office under the leadership of Dr. Huang. It says a lot about diversity mattering. It’s front and center. It’s one of our core values. I think that’s so important,” he said.

Ervin said the office will work with faculty, staff, and students to create an environment that respects individuality and difference.

He said they will also strive to remove obstacles that prevent some people from realizing their full potential.

In addition, WIU’s administration said the office will have direct leadership and oversight of the university's diversity plan, and that it will be active in “creating and delivering educational workshops, programming, training, and tools to further support faculty, staff, and students in achieving a greater understanding of issues pertaining to JIDE.”

Lawmakers in the neighboring state of Iowa have advanced a bill to ban spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion offices and professionals at public universities, which has Ervin feeling fortunate to be in Illinois.

“Some states still believe in ‘we the people,’ as opposed to some of the people,” Ervin said.

“I’m happy to be in Illinois where we support the idea of individuality, we support freedom, we support democracy.”

Ervin was named interim director in August, 2022. He said Western’s JIDE office will have two fulltime employees, and that in the fall he will look to bring on board a federal work study student and an intern or two.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.