Recommendation 4: The University of Mississippi should consider a symbolic and formal dedication of all new students to the ideals of inclusion and fairness to which the university is devoted
The UM Creed, established in 2003 as a compass and core values for the campus community, has been elevated further through a series of events and activities such as Respect the M, MPower, Creed Week, and Creed Justice. In addition to elevating the UM Creed as a foundational element, UM has enhanced curriculum and related training for all students.
- Respect the M is a mandatory orientation for all new students and parents developed to support the university’s efforts to promote a more inclusive and diverse campus climate. Respect the M has ten guiding principles that are incorporated into all educational and promotional materials: pay attention, acknowledge others, think the best, listen, be inclusive, be patient, speak kindly, don’t speak ill of others, do not harass people, and respect others’ opinions. The campaign originated during the 2013 freshman summer orientation as partial fulfillment of recommendations made by the Extended Sensitivity and Respect Committee.
- MPower is an optional, first-year summer program to instill appreciation for university culture, including the UM Creed, and for cultural differences and inclusivity. During the 3-day leadership development activities, participants learn about team-building skills, True Colors, and the Respect the M campaign. MPower promotes cultural awareness, appreciation and inclusion through understanding and implementation of the UM Creed.
- Creed Week is an annual celebration and affirmation of the values of the UM Creed that allows students to sign the UM Creed book and receive a personal copy
- Creed Justice is a form of restorative justice created to focus on values identified in the UM Creed. It involves all affected parties working together to hold offenders accountable for their actions. Offenders learn to accept and acknowledge responsibility, repair harm and build positive social ties to the community.
Curriculum and related training:
- The Division of Student Affairs enhanced the EDHE 105 curriculum and related training to educate students on matters related to diversity. The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement trained EDHE 105 faculty on LBGTQ issues; these efforts were aimed at developing a common curriculum that discusses race and sexuality in a uniform way throughout all sections (fall 2014).
- UM offers EDHE 305 for transfer students to learn more about UM’s history and commitment to inclusion (fall 2014).
- UM added a chapter to The Ole Miss Experience, the EDHE 105/305 textbook, titled “Living the Creed at the University of Mississippi.” Each student enrolled in EDHE 105/305 is given a copy of the Creed as a bookmark at the beginning of the semester (2014).
Updated: June 2016