A Statement of Solidarity

Nov. 13, 2015

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

While I was unavailable to participate in yesterday’s march, I want to express my support and solidarity with those who demonstrated on our campus against violent and racist threats against African-American student activists at the University of Missouri and elsewhere. As I shared with Student Union president Nyah Macklin yesterday, university campuses such as ours should be at the center of our national dialogue about race and should not sit passively on the sidelines pretending these are issues that don’t apply here. Given our roots as an institution founded in response to exclusion, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our campus is a diverse and inclusive one. We must move beyond aspirations for a safe and inclusive environment, where community members respect and value the perspectives and contributions of all others, to the actualization of this vision.

Actualization includes recruiting a more diverse student body, faculty and staff. But it does not stop there. We must create an inclusive environment that champions diversity in our pedagogy and curriculum, research, and faculty and staff development. There is much work to be done — re-examining how we recruit and support our students, faculty and staff; enhancing diversity training for our community; and establishing institutional structures that will support, track and hold accountable promises made (creating the office and VP for Diversity and Inclusion). I know the commitment of our community to take on this issue honestly and passionately will make a significant and positive change not only on our campus but for our society as a whole.

In solidarity,

Lisa M. Lynch
Interim President