The Berry Community Council
The Berry Community Council, sponsored by the office of the president, is a new forum dedicated to enhancing relationships among members of the campus community. Berry is made up of people of many backgrounds, interests, and perspectives. Despite the differences represented among us, we constitute one body in which all of us play significant roles.
The president of Berry College therefore is gathering representatives from among students, faculty, staff members, alumni, townspeople and others to engage in conversation about what we hold in common even as we help community members understand and appreciate diversity and promote dialogue among various groups of us. The American republic was formed from people of many backgrounds who nevertheless created a single and united country. In our second century, Berry proudly numbers community members of diverse backgrounds and outlooks who join together to pursue the vision and mission of our college.
It is clear that the very social and cultural tensions experienced across America are mirrored at our college. Most of us were deeply shocked when Berry experienced two disturbing racial and ethnic incidents less than a year after hateful language was directed toward a gay student in a residence hall. Even in the absence of slurs or hate language, issues relating to race, gender, religious belief, and sexual identity are as often raised on campus as they are in the country as a whole, and from time to time some of these issues threaten to divide us.
The Berry Community Council is first dedicated to confronting major social and cultural issues present on our campus and in the wider community. Second, this group will make certain that we keep such discussions before us as a topic of inquiry and possibly debate. Such discussion could include invited speakers, special programs, and other public events. Third, the group will speak to the bonds that unite various groups within the mission of the college. And fourth, this group will assist the president of the college in explaining to the wider world the health and vibrancy of the community that exists at Berry.
Members will be appointed by the president from students, faculty, staff members, alumni, and townspeople who represent a wide range of perspectives, some of which are already represented by student and/or faculty and staff groups and some of which are not. In certain respects, this council will serve as a congress of representatives from various campus groups and constituencies. The Community Council will come together at least twice a semester and a record of such meetings will be posted on the college intranet. The college president will chair meetings of the council.