Our commitment to KU alumni: We must do better

Posted on Jun 10, 2020 in News

Adams Alumni Center | Our commitment to KU alumni: We must do better

We have always prided ourselves on the quality of our content– the stories we share with loyal Jayhawks to help keep alumni connected to KU. The core values that drive our digital storytelling efforts have become like a mantra to us. We strive for our online communications to always be timely, relevant, and accurate. That approach appeared to serve us well, until now.

One of our recent emails, our Crimson + Blue newsletter, appropriately led with a story about KU’s history with racial injustice and protest. The other stories in the newsletter, while delivering on our promise to be timely and relevant, failed to honor our commitment in a more profound way. As noted by one of our loyal alumni, our coverage in that edition of Crimson + Blue–taken collectively–failed to feature or demonstrate our claimed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. That criticism is fair, and the scrutiny is welcomed. By failing to include stories representative of the diverse group of alumni we serve, we fall short of our ultimate goal of uniting all Jayhawks in support of KU. We must do better.

While we firmly believe that words matter, actions matter more. Today we are changing the way we create and curate our stories by clarifying the lenses through which we view our work. Yes, we will still strive for all our communications to be timely, relevant and accurate. However, a stricter test must be applied to our work if we hope to engage all Jayhawks, starting with these essential questions:

Is it reasonable?

Timing is everything, and we will make sure our communications are delivered with sensitivity to the current context and climate.

Is it right?

Accuracy matters, and we will work to ensure the highest editorial standards and fact-check our work.

Is it relevant?

Jayhawks relate to what’s happening at KU based on their unique experiences. We will try to tell compelling stories that resonate with all Jayhawks.

Is it representative?

We will work harder to include stories and faces that reflect the diversity of interests and perspectives represented by our vast Jayhawk community.

We are proud of our 350,000+ KU alumni, and we recognize that their Jayhawk pride rides along with other identities formed by their life experiences and their time at KU. I promise that we will do a better job of recognizing and celebrating the unique experiences of all Jayhawks in our coverage for KU alumni, because our words reflect our actions, and our actions must reflect what we value as a community of Jayhawks.

David Johnston signature


David Johnston
Sr. Vice President for Strategic Communications