After being appointed Acting President in July 2018, I attended the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) New Presidents Academy. That week-long program provided me the opportunity to take a deep dive into the role of the presidency, to be mentored, to make new friends and to build a wonderful network of peers. We continue to share our stories and experiences, and we discuss issues that we each face. Together, we developed this statement to call out and eradicate discrimination and racism. Many thanks to President Framroze Virgee of California State University, Fullerton and his team for pulling our collective video together.
We, the presidents and chancellors of public higher education institutions from across the nation, stand together to call out and eradicate discrimination and racism.
We stand together as leaders of vastly different universities; some large and in the heart of densely populated urban areas, others small and in the isolation of America’s farmland; some Historically Black Colleges and Universities, others Hispanic and Native American Serving Institutions; some incredibly diverse and multicultural, others more racially and ethnically homogenous.
We stand together intending to leverage the full weight of our positions and power to root out anti-Black policies and procedures.
We stand together to provide equitable pathways to higher education in which diversity and inclusion is not only celebrated, but integral to the success of every student in every discipline.
We stand together declining the antiquated call to lead institutions that are merely “not racist;” instead, we aim to be “anti-racist” and enhance our support of underrepresented faculty, staff, and students.
For those of us born with privilege, we stand together to correct the inequities that benefit us at the expense of others.
We stand together for those who have been mistreated, falsely imprisoned, or have died at the hands or under the gavel of injustice.
We stand together with all of you, the more than 100,00 students we collectively represent. For you are our future, and as we unite at this historic confluence of promise and hope, we vow to listen to, learn from, and collaborate with you to eradicate the injustice that is wrapped in our nation’s history and too often perpetuated today.
We stand together in recognition of the unique gifts each of our respective institutions bring to this work — some have bold ideas and radical abilities; others are more subtle and measured in their approach — but all are bound by an unrestrained mission of building a world of love and acceptance through education.
And finally, we stand together to ensure our students, faculty, and staff understand that they are not only invited but expected to join us in this commitment
Only then can we stir the good trouble until it is no longer seen as trouble; only good.
Only then can we turn ripples of hope into tides of change.
Only then can we reach our dream of a beloved community.
Only then will we truly be one.
By coming together. By working together. By standing together.
Eudora Welty Hall