Racial Climate Town Hall and Next Steps
NC State Students, Faculty and Staff:
On behalf of myself and the administrators who attended yesterday’s Student Government Town Hall on Racial Climate, please accept our sincere thanks to all who attended this important community meeting. Particularly to the students who spoke, thank you for your heartfelt and passionate words. I admire your courage in sharing the hurtful incidents you have had to endure while at NC State.
Yesterday was a learning opportunity for many of us, myself included, to better understand the prevalence and personal impacts of bigotry in our community. Please know you were heard, and we agree – no one should have to encounter those types of painful experiences on our campus.
After yesterday’s event I was asked how I feel, personally, about the hurtful statements posted by some students earlier this week. I am personally offended and appalled that any NC State student would use those words. I think we all agree that racism and bigotry in any form have no acceptable place at NC State.
As next steps, I have asked Vice Provost of Institutional Equity and Diversity Linda McCabe Smith and Senior Director of Campus Community Centers Reggie Barnes to assemble NC State’s newly formed Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) to review this week’s social media incident and make suggestions about how the university can improve our response to such situations.
I’ve also asked the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity to review national best practices to determine how NC State can improve its policies and procedures regarding diversity, equity and other related issues.
Finally, at yesterday’s town hall we heard loud and clear that racism and campus climate are not issues that should fall solely on students to fix; that is absolutely correct. However, we need student voices at the table. Next week I, along with Dr. Smith, Provost Warwick Arden and Vice Chancellor for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs Mike Mullen, will meet with student leaders to talk about immediate and long-term actions needed to improve diversity and inclusion experiences at NC State.
We have serious issues to address and challenges to overcome, and change will not happen overnight.
Please know that I and university leadership are committed to the priority of ensuring a diverse and inclusive campus culture.