Office of the President
Communications from CCU President David A. DeCenzo
Welcome to CCU Fall 2016
Aug. 22, 2016
Transcript of video message from CCU President David A. DeCenzo and SGA President Austin Nichols
(CCU President David DeCenzo)
Hello to our Coastal Carolina University community. I'm President David DeCenzo, and I'm here with your Student Government Association President Austin Nichols.
(SGA President Austin Nichols)
Together, we welcome you to CCU at the start of this new academic year.
This has been such an exciting summer for Coastal. Some media have even called it "Chanticleer Summer."
We had the great fortune to witness our baseball team prove themselves, day after day, as they competed against some of the nation's top-ranking teams in the Regionals, the Super Regionals, and then on to Omaha and the College World Series. Together, we held our collective breath as the Chants ascended, rising to become the national champions. We celebrated, experiencing together the surreal moments of the team arriving back home, running out, trophy in hand, to greet the thousands of fans at the airport, parading through Main Street, Conway, and then raising that trophy up high for cheering fans at Springs Brooks Stadium. We were reminded that our student-athletes are students first, as the NCAA honored them for achieving academic excellence with the highest grade point average of any team competing in Omaha. Could it get any better? You bet! Our head baseball coach, Gary Gilmore, was recognized as national coach of the year by five different organizations.
And while our "Chanticleer" name was becoming a household word across America and beyond, two of our CCU alumni made global headlines! Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open and Bridgestone PGA golf tournaments, and Amber Campbell, our hammer throw star, qualified for her third time to join Team USA, competing in Rio’s Summer Olympic games. And on the national scene, Bailey Cocca, a Myrtle Beach resident, a New York native and recent Coastal Carolina graduate, won her first New York State Women's Amateur Golf Championship.
While we celebrated, we also grieved for the loss of lives due to violent acts in our communities across America and in cities around the globe. This weighs very heavy on our minds. Not a week goes by without news of horrific violence, images of senseless killing, and we don’t want to believe that this could become the new norm.
President DeCenzo and I want to share with you how we've been working through the impacts of these tragic events, and leading in our respective areas to build an even stronger Teal Nation.
We want to start by talking with you about three main themes – inclusion, safety and change.
A university is a place to be challenged with different ideas. We may not all agree with some of these ideas, but our Teal Nation is grounded in the principles of accepting differences and engaging in relevant dialogues that promote healing and positive solutions.
Right now on this campus, people are feeling and experiencing a lot of different emotions. And we are providing opportunities for difficult dialogues to occur. These productive discussions can spark change, both responsive and proactive.
Our staff from Campus Life and Student Engagement has been leading the training of faculty and staff in how to facilitate difficult dialogues. During the past several months, they've put that training to use, leading discussions with students who needed a healthy way to process tragic events.
CCU's training and development office is also rolling out new inclusion and diversity training for all faculty and staff. And the University's executive leaders are committed to their own extensive training in this area so they can lead the cultural growth of CCU by living the example.
Very soon, a chief diversity and inclusion officer will be appointed and with that, a Council for Inclusion and Diversity will be established. This team will work with University leaders to ensure our community is free of barriers.
Our student clubs and organizations are working together to establish opportunities for improving how we share information, and how we bring together our minds, our energy and our focus for identifying needs and concerns so that positive change can result. I am working alongside the president of the Coastal Activities Board, Eddie Harris, to create a student organization team. It will become a way for our clubs and student groups to share information, representing diverse demographics of our student population. The creation of this team will build a better network for promoting collaborative thinking and relevant work. It helps us listen, share information, zero-in on student needs, and solve issues.
The student organization team will also develop events on campus that are focused on inclusion and diversity. Events are already in place for the fall.
I am fully committed to working with student leaders and the University staff to evaluate how student complaints are received and processed, so that improvements are made to ensure your voices are heard and recognized, and improvements continue to be made.
Like me, you may wonder, "Will I be safe here? Will I be respected here? Will I be represented here at CCU?" My answer is this. We share the responsibility of creating, ensuring and upholding a safe CCU.
There are many opportunities presented to us now and throughout the year about how to approach our campus lives with safety strategies in the forefront of our minds.
The world is constantly changing, and that’s why Teal Nation will have to constantly evolve. New threats require new approaches, and our public safety professionals work diligently to stay on top of the latest safety advancements, training and procedures to maintain a safe environment. State-of-the-art technologies, the highest trained public safety and emergency personnel combined with our own commitment as faculty, staff and students results in the safest CCU possible.
We are Teal Nation. This is what we are all about. Our expectation, Austin's and mine, is that we are going to live up to the Teal Nation principle of inclusion. We hold each other and ourselves personally responsible for defining today and the future of CCU.
Much of what we have talked about today continues from work we started last year. However, we need you to keep it going strong. We need to be hearing your voice, and we need you to work alongside us, processing the issues we face. We need your engagement to effectively present and implement solutions.
Please be paying attention and looking out for your chance to play an active role. When you see an opportunity that resonates with you, plug in.
We will continue to pursue challenging topics, especially when these discussions are out of our comfort zone. When we do this, we can only become stronger and better for it.
Thank you for listening, and for dedicating all that you are able to these initiatives. Together, we can determine how the future unfolds for Coastal Carolina University, and we look forward to sharing this experience with you.
Welcome to Teal Nation.