Days after telling a white nationalist he couldn’t speak at Penn State, the university is unveiling plans for a permanent monument praising diversity.
The “All In” program at Penn State kicked off in 2016, and was targeted at not just including the wide variety of people the university represents and serves, but celebrating them.
Its showpiece moment was the October event at Old Main where the historic building served as a backdrop for a video presentation about the university’s diversity. But that wasn’t where “All In” stopped. A permanent representation of the program was always part of the plan, President Eric Barron said in September 2016.
On Thursday, Penn State revealed what that will be.
The installation created by visiting professor of architecture Juan Ruescas “will evoke a forest with tree elements of different heights and sizes inviting the visitor into a clearing, (and) will be located on the eastern side of Old Main on the University Park campus.”
The “trees” will be diverse — different heights, different dimensions — with words on them that “reflect the meaning” of the university’s inclusion, and the design also integrates existing real trees.
“Diversity is such an important part of who we are at Penn State — diversity of people, backgrounds, opinions, races, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, research and perspectives,” Barron said. “This beautiful creative piece will underscore what we mean when we say ‘We Are Penn State’ and encourage all members of the community to ‘Be who you are. Together.’ ”
The announcement comes two days after the announcement that Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute would not be welcome to speak at the university.
“There is no place for hatred, bigotry or racism in our society and on our campuses,” Barron said.