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“The last thing we want is for students to feel left out, which is what I think some people feel like now,” he said.
Aoun said his intention for the council was to create quantifiable solutions for improving interactions on Northeastern’s campus.
During Friday’s meeting, the council suggested one way to measure progress: through civic sustainability.
“In the same way we assess environmental sustainability on campus, they are encouraging us to assess our civic sustainability,” Aoun said.
In addition to discussions among the council itself, Aoun also outlined three tasks he has given members.
The first is a “thorough investigation of our past” as a university, which will be led by history professor Bill Fowler and librarian Will Wakeling.
Citing the belief Northeastern may have dark parts of its history, Aoun said the historical review was “not a way to look backwards, but as a way to chart our future.”
The other two assignments Aoun gave the council will engage the community directly, with two series of events and discussions, one focused on “interfaith harmony” and the other with more academic subjects.
In an email sent out to all students Tuesday, interim dean Poiger announced the start of the academic series – six events over the course of a year. A website set up with more information about the program lists its name as “Conflict, Civility, Respect, Peace: Northeastern Reflects.”
“Each event will trace the arc from recognizing conflict or injustice to building peace,” Poiger wrote in Tuesday’s email.
Former Massachusetts Governor and Distinguished Professor Michael Dukakis will host the first event, “Understanding Hate,” on Feb. 25.
In addition to these new events, Aoun listed some of the ways Northeastern celebrates diversity, including the annual Holocaust Remembrance Week, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. convocation and other cultural events.
“These individual celebrations cannot and should not stand in isolation,” he said, remarking that such events are “not for a specific group – they are for the community as a whole.”