Monday, January 17, 2022
University of Iowa Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Liz Tovar Standing
Liz Tovar, Executive Officer and Associate Vice President,
Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Happy New Year, and welcome back to campus! While it is cold outside, we are excited to see everyone back on campus to begin the spring semester. My hope is everyone had a safe and enjoyable winter break.

Today we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. as we serve our community and strive to make it a better place. While we still have work to do, I am encouraged by the strides we have gained and can build upon. This week the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Human Rights will take place across campus, and we encourage everyone to check out these events. DDEI partners with Johnson County and the Division of Student Life in this effort, and we look forward to your participation!

This week is also Unity Week 2022. We mark this week to celebrate our institutions’ people and accomplishments in DEI while also looking forward to growing in the coming year. 

Our colleges, units, and departments across campus will tell the stories of how they have grown in DEI since last January. You can see these stories on their social media feeds and our divisions’ Unity webpage. I encourage you to use #IowaUnity2022 to show how you have grown over the past year.

One way we show our continued commitment to unity is in our battle with COVID-19. Our in-person learning is critical to our success, but we need to be safe. Please, be respectful of your neighbors, wear a mask, get tested if you feel symptoms, and self-report. The universities’ COVID-19 website will continue to post updates. We really are all in this together, and we need to take care of one another.

I have spoken many times about how critical it is to respect each other. We don’t need to agree with our neighbors. We need to respect different opinions, listen to understand each other, and respect beliefs differing from our own. It is our right through freedom of speech and expression to hold tight to our ideas, but it is also about being civil to each other in challenging conversations.  

As we begin this new semester and strive for success, it is essential to focus on mutual respect for and to listen to understand each other. We have come so far in the past year, but we need to be vigilant and continue to work on ourselves to be our best selves.

I am always available to talk. Please reach out to me at elizabeth-tovar@uiowa.edu anytime. Have a great start to the semester, and as always…

Go Hawks!

Liz Tovar
Executive Officer and Associate Vice President

Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion