Dear members of the Shenandoah University community,
As a university president, a mother, an American, and a human being I am horrified and outraged by last week’s senseless killing of George Floyd and the daily racist attacks on Black men and women in our society. For anyone to lose their life, be judged, or have opportunities denied based on the color of their skin — THIS IS NOT OKAY!
When we say “SU Rises,” we mean that here at Shenandoah, EVERYONE rises. The way we rise is through hearing the concerns and needs of our community. We are here to listen, to understand, and to institute the changes needed to ensure that Shenandoah is a beacon of equity and antiracism, and that everyone within our community takes that dedication to equity out into the world.
No matter the program of study, a Shenandoah education teaches us that every neighbor, every patient, every audience member, every client, every person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. And that until we view each other with love, until we see each other as equal, until we value the worth of each individual, we cannot be fully effective as healthcare providers, performers, teachers, police officers, entrepreneurs, voters, neighbors or activists.
Our strategic plan calls for Shenandoah to establish a campus culture of “compassion, responsibility, advocacy, and justice, which graduates are inspired to replicate in communities beyond Shenandoah.”
Shenandoah students, alumni, faculty and staff are doing that right now across the country as they stand up and speak out against racial injustice. They are angry…..and so am I. Every person deserves equal access to a great education. And each Shenandoah student who walks across that graduation stage deserves to join a society that gives each person, regardless of skin color, an equal chance at a long, safe, fulfilling life. Know that your university stands with you. Shenandoah is unequivocal in its commitment to Black lives and antiracism. I hope that you will join with the whole Shenandoah family tomorrow at noon, via Zoom, to make your voices heard.
Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. | President
Other college leaders are also calling for societal change and urging their communities not to turn to violence in protests against racism, police brutality and the senseless killing of George Floyd. Read more statements from college leaders across the nation.