President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2023-24 > Supporting our students

Supporting our students

Welcome back! I hope you’re having an excellent first week of classes. Yesterday, I shared a message with the entire university community. I wanted to follow up to share a few additional updates specifically for our students.

Throughout the fall quarter, Student Affairs Vice President Gene Zdziarski and I, as well as other senior leaders, heard from many of you. I’m grateful for your continued input on how DePaul can better support its community members, particularly as we navigate challenging situations. I also appreciate your ongoing contributions to the work we are doing in the many initiatives that are part of Designing DePaul. Based on your input, key actions underway include:

Building support for our cultural and religious groups:

  • To accommodate the growing needs of our students, we will design new and existing spaces for DePaul’s cultural and religious groups in O’Connell and Levan halls, including repurposing classrooms by Fall 2024. I have charged Student Affairs and Mission and Ministry to work with our students to redesign these spaces. We also will work closely with Academic Affairs to minimize any implications on class scheduling.
  • We are committing dedicated budgets to DePaul’s student cultural and resource groups to help with ongoing programming needs, including graduation celebrations in the spring. Student Affairs will work with our administrative leaders to put those budgets in place.
  • This quarter, we are beginning the search for a new vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are in the process of developing the search committee now, which will include student representation.
  • Mission and Ministry is in the process of hiring a Jewish Life coordinator. We hope to fill this position very soon, and Mission and Ministry will share updates as they are available.
  • The safety of our students remains a top priority, and we continue to implement changes based on your feedback. You will soon receive a campus safety progress update, which includes information about Public Safety officers recently completing in-person DEI training. We will continue to work closely with student leaders so that you can help inform our work in this area.

Upholding our commitment to the student conduct process:

  • DePaul will continue to investigate every reported complaint of harassment or discrimination. Student Affairs, Human Resources and Public Safety have been investigating more than 30 cases. We are committed to review all submitted complaints.
  • In response to student input, we have revamped the intake form for harassment and discrimination incidents to better represent complaints.

All the changes we’re implementing can be connected to the contributions you are making through Designing DePaul. Your thoughts and ideas help strengthen our university community. Thank you for sharing your concerns and suggestions with me, and please know we’re always happy to listen. Both Veep Gene and I look forward to continuing our collaboration with you as we work to enhance the DePaul experience for ALL our students. 

As we move forward, I ask you to embrace our Vincentian values of ​human dignity, empathy, and compassion. Continue engaging in the respectful exchange of ideas. When navigating complex situations, remember DePaul’s guiding principles. In addition, please review the guiding principles for speech and expression, which are intended to serve as a foundation for these conversations. Above all else, remember no one wants to feel invisible. Everyone wants to be respected and heard.

If you or someone you know is struggling and needs support, the following services are always available: 

Thank you for everything you do for DePaul. Our university is stronger because of you, and I would like to emphasize how much your ongoing feedback benefits the entire university.

Have a wonderful quarter, and I look forward to seeing you around campus!