VanHecke mentioned student affairs professionals may not see equity, civility, and safety work as their responsibility. Such a stance is troubling, and not just on the individual level. Systemic issues may be present, where inequitable learning environments may appear as:
- individuals with minoritized identities discouraged from engaging based on their lived experiences
- individuals lacking preparation to understand the content or realize the personal and professional relevance to these topics
- individuals lacking resources or permission to engage beyond their immediate role/tasks
Institutional leaders bear some degree of responsibility for each of these elements. Employees are owed a safe and productive work environment. Taken further, it can be easy to argue leaders who do not embed (or at least encourage) equity as part of their area’s work are complicit in systemic, majoritized structures that perpetuate inequity. Inaction and silence create negative perceptions of values and priorities, not to mention increases the potential for harm.