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Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

University Chief Diversity Officer & Title IX Coordinator

willette burnham, university chief diversity officer
Willette Burnham-Williams, PhD


MUSC leadership responds to recent event in Charlottesville

We are appalled and outraged by last weekend’s demonstrations of bigotry, racism and hatred witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia and on the University of Virginia’s campus. In light of these events, we felt it was important to take a moment to reinforce what we stand for here at MUSC. As we and our communities struggle to make sense of such acts that are rooted in hate, we want to remind the MUSC family that we are committed more than ever to living out our values, which include compassion and respect, and making MUSC a community where everyone feels safe and valued.

We recognize that what happened in Virginia was not a localized gathering; people traveled across the country to attend. The loss of life and injuries are tragic, senseless and saddening. This is racism and bigotry masquerading as free expression. We fully support the First Amendment and recognize our role as a state institution in upholding that right; however, we equally recognize our responsibility to ensure that those rights are upheld in a non-violent, respectful environment. Our most important responsibility is the total well-being -- physical and emotional -- of you, our students, faculty, staff, patients and families. We do not take that lightly.

Embracing diversity and inclusion is a pillar goal of our institution. Intrinsic to this is supporting each other in difficult times. We uphold our pillar goals and values as a community of higher education and stand firmly against intolerance and hate of any kind.

In the coming days, we ask that you keep Charlottesville and all those injured in the attack in your thoughts and prayers. Our country, campuses and the MUSC family are resilient. We are here to support you during this difficult time and ask that you utilize the many resources available to you, including CAPS, Campus and Public Safety, Office of Gender and Equity, Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, BSIT, Human Resources University and MUSC Health Employee Relations and Student Affairs in our respective Colleges.

Thank you for making MUSC the premier academic health sciences center in South Carolina and helping us reach our vision of leading health innovation for the lives we touch.

Yours in service,
David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC President
Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MBA, MUSC Health CEO
Lisa K. Saladin, PT, Ph.D., MUSC Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

The University Chief Diversity Officer is responsible for the leadership and management of the University’s strategic diversity initiatives and multi-faceted diversity programs.  The CDO works directly with the 6 colleges , research and support business units to further MUSC’s values, priorities, mission and vision.  The CDO and her staff are responsible for working collaboratively with internal and external community stakeholders including students, faculty and staff to ensure that organizational priorities and goals pertaining to equity, inclusion and excellence are institutionalized, sustained and measured in order to “create an inclusive experience for the lives we touch.” 

The University CDO reports to the Executive Vice President for Finance and Operations and serves on the President’s University Leadership Council.


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