We are deeply saddened by the loss of UNC Asheville Officer James Hamilton, St. Augustine University President Irving Pressley McPhail, and Appalachian State University student Chad Dorrill from complications associated with COVID-19. The loss of life brings the devastating impacts of COVID-19 closer to home, and during a time when cases are on the rise in our region and throughout North Carolina.
To the Western Carolina University community: I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Richard D. Starnes, former dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences who has been serving as interim provost since last October, as our next permanent provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. This appointment, approved by the Board of Trustees during a special called meeting yesterday, is effective immediately.
As college students, your votes will shape the future of our country! To help make your voices heard, WCU will have a polling place on campus again this year. The primary election is coming up so be sure to turn out to vote!
I had the opportunity to visit Professor Erickson's Advanced Ceramics Class within our School of Art and Design. I even received hands-on training from remarkable students. I also learned that it’s harder than it looks!
It is with great sadness and anger that I write to you again regarding another instance of our students behaving in a bigoted and racist manner on a video shared via social media. It is difficult to express the level of disappointment and disgust that I feel, but I know that my feelings pale in comparison to the anguish that our faculty, staff, students, and alumni of color are feeling when they are confronted with these words and images. No one on our campus should feel that the environment is hostile or interferes with their ability to pursue their educational or work activities based on discrimination.
Before kicking off a new academic year at WCU, we always like to take a trip down memory lane and look back at all we accomplished the year before. This year may have been unlike any other before, but it was full of amazing work by our students, faculty, and staff.
Western Carolina University’s fall 2020 campus welcome will be unlike any other as the world learned new ways to connect through remote experiences. Our traditional opening semester celebration, the Opening Assembly, will be held digitally on August 12 at 10:00 a.m. Celebrate with us as we start the new academic year and officially welcome our students, faculty and staff.
Shared community standards remind us that we each have personal responsibility for actions that may affect our own health and the health of our friends, colleagues, and the broader campus community. Our collective acceptance of this shared responsibility will be the most effective strategy we will have at our disposal in the challenging months ahead. We know that Catamounts Care and we have developed the following set of standards to encourage everyone to put the well-being of themselves and others top of mind.
I write today with a heavy heart to offer a message of profound and sincere compassion for all those who are suffering pain and frustration in the wake of events that have rocked our communities and our nation. The last few days have been difficult ones for our country. Like you, Dennis and I have watched these moments unfold. We share in the collective heartbreak over the death of George Floyd and the events that have followed.