Dear WCU Campus Community,
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.
This is not how Catamounts are expected to behave. Students accepted into the ranks of the Catamount Community agree to hold themselves to high standards of personal integrity; to respect the rights and well-being of others; and to value diversity, inclusive excellence, and individual differences. Students of all backgrounds should find a community here that allows them to thrive and to be educated, free from fear that their skin color, ethnicity, or other differences make them unwelcome or denigrated.
Justifiable calls for action can be heard from across our campus community today. Rest assured, the University is taking active steps to address these particular incidents consistent with our University processes and policies; however, we cannot disclose specific actions taken against a specific student(s). With that in mind, our inability to communicate specific actions should not be construed as inaction. Western Carolina University takes seriously the effect that these videos have had on the campus community and will act accordingly.
Catamount Nation, we find ourselves in a moment of time in which we must intentionally act consistent with our highest ideals. The stress of the pandemic and the national climate on race and politics is great, but I ask that you stand with me to make Western Carolina University a haven for all amidst the uncertainty and anxiety that is flooding our society. I ask that we all recommit ourselves to the ideals found in the WCU Creed. The moment is now.
Kelli R. Brown
In the wake of yet another video showing WCU students behaving a bigoted and racist manner, justifiable calls for action can be heard from across our community today. The behavior and words of these students in the videos are reprehensible and absolutely counter to the values and ideals we espouse. In response, the University is taking active steps to address these particular incidents consistent with our University processes and policies; however, we will not be able to disclose specific actions taken against a specific student(s). That said, our inability to communicate specific actions should not be construed as inaction. Western Carolina University takes seriously the effect that these videos have had and will act accordingly. We remain committed to advancing diversity and inclusive excellence on our campus and will not be deterred from this path by the actions of a few.