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Ceremony Marks Milestone for Just Community

Updated: Feb. 13, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

Live Webcast at noon Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2001

It started out as a proposal to build a larger sense of campus community and to recognize, respect and celebrate the diversity on UC's campus, from age and ethnicity to varying religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. The University of Cincinnati's Just Community initiative will mark a major milestone when a formal Statement of Commitment is announced at a ceremony 12-1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, in the atrium of the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

The participants include:

UC President Joseph A. Steger

Mitchel Livingston, chair and founder of the Just Community initiative and Vice President for Student Affairs and Human Resources

Tony Perzigian, Senior Vice President and Provost for Baccalaureate and Graduate Education

Donald Harrison, Senior Vice President and Provost for Health Affairs

Perzigian and Harrison serve as Just Community co-chairs. Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken will issue a proclamation from the city in recognition of UC's Statement for a Just Community. The entire campus community is invited to take part.

The initiative was launched in 1995 when UC governing committees, from the Board of Trustees to student government, voted to endorse the proposal. After five years of programs and dialogue, focus groups across campus began to outline a set of principles to define the vision of a Just Community.

Last summer, the consulting group William M. Mercer took the set of draft principles announced in 2000 and, after conferring with all groups that outlined that vision, developed the formal statement to be unveiled Feb. 14.

The statement is engraved on a formal plaque that is four feet high and will be unveiled by UC President Joseph Steger at the ceremony. The backdrop to the ceremony features 60 flags, tied together and designed by incoming freshmen last fall who were asked to illustrate their vision of a Just Community.

The Just Community initiative is listed as a model program for civic education in the Templeton College Guide, the first national college guide to recognize character development programs at universities. Although similar initiatives have been promoted on campuses nationwide, Mitchel Livingston, founder of the UC initiative, says he believes UC is the first university to formally define a set of values along with the mission statement of the university and, in the process, involve the whole community in a five-year dialogue to achieve this goal.

"I know of no other program that cuts across the breadth of the university's common set of values. This defines the values of the university experience, as well as providing a mechanism to support and nurture it," said Livingston. Livingston brought the initiative to the University of Cincinnati from the University at Albany, where it received honors from former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and the Middle State Accreditation Agency.

Livingston adds that campuses across the state of New York are experimenting with this model. Livingston has presented the UC initiative at national conferences such as the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, the College Personnel Association, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and at individual colleges from coast to coast.

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