Dear students, faculty and staff,
I write to you following an historic verdict. And while there is profound reflection and celebration, we must be mindful that there is still much work to be done.
Here at Shenandoah, we continue to have no tolerance for racial injustice and we strive toward deeper understanding of the injustice in our world in order to serve ALL of our students.
After George Floyd’s death last May, our university community was not together in person, so we came together virtually to try to process racial injustice and discover ways to make change. In the months following, we listened and worked to turn your ideas into actions, policies and outcomes. We have made progress, but we recognize that we can always do better and do more.
Although change takes time and courage, we are, nearly a year later, still seeing violent incidents across the United States that disproportionately affect people of color. We’re deeply affected by recent events — not just the trial of Derek Chauvin but the stories of Daunte Wright, Lt. Caron Nazario, Adam Toledo and so many others.
This needs to stop. We must stand up to violence and racism, and never stand down from vocalizing our disbelief, sorrow and outrage in a system that is still broken. We must support each other and stand in solidarity with people of color at SU and elsewhere. Not only will we make space to listen to those in our community, but we will also fight with them in the quest for equity and justice.
Our community is invited to join in conversation: A Space for Support and Solidarity will be held Thursday, April 22, from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom. Join Dr. Hakeem Leonard, Dahlia Ashford, DeShon Foxx, Karen Cornejo Guillen, and Dr. Ting-Yu Chen for a community conversation about the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. This is a space for Shenandoah University community members to share their feelings.
Please remember that Shenandoah has several resources to provide support for students, faculty and staff during these challenging times, including the Counseling Center and the Mosaic Center, as well as our three Chief Diversity Officers.
As represented in SU’s Vision and Values statement, we are an institution committed to “a culture of compassion, advocacy, responsibility and justice.” Clearly, until there is justice for ALL, there is still work to be done in our country and at our university. I hope that all members of the SU family will join in to be part of the solution and to demonstrate care and respect for each other.