Dear WCU Community,
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.
I hope you all saw the sentiments expressed by Ricardo Nazario-Colón, our chief diversity officer. They help to show us how one tragic event can remind us of our shared humanity. I thank Ricardo for his beautiful words even though the pain from which they come is real and raw.
As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility and an obligation to shine a light on intolerance, inequity, and injustice. WCU has a long and proud tradition of embracing diversity. We must continue to model the commitment to inclusive excellence that we espouse. My heart aches for the vulnerable among us. These recent events reaffirm my dedication to make inclusive excellence a priority for Western Carolina University.
I implore you to support our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who may be feeling fear, pain, and uncertainty. Lend an ear or a voice to lift them up. In doing so, you will live up to the core values our campus community hold dear. The greatness of our university and our country lies in the rich tapestry of variety that we see all around us. No one should live in fear that their skin color or ethnicity could cost them their life or make them a target for hate or lesser treatment.
Should you have need, Mr. Nazario-Colón will be holding office hours via Zoom this week Monday through Thursday from 11:00am until 2:00pm. Please email him at email@example.com for the link.
Kelli R. Brown