August 16, 2017
Dear MLK Jr. Students, Colleagues, and Friends,
As educators, we are deeply aware of how our students watched the events in Charlottesville unfold. As we prepare to return to our University and classrooms, know that we are deeply impacted by these actions, and that we stand against acts of violence, hate, bigotry, racism, white supremacy and neo-confederate ideology. These very acts and viewpoints of oppression are in direct opposition of the collegiate values spelled out in our CLA Constitution of “ freedom of thought and expression; respect, diversity, and social justice.” Freedom of thought and expression does not provide the rights to act violently against those whom we disagree. We stand with the statements already made by the Minnesota Student Association and Student Body Presidents across the United States.
We have a responsibility to speak out about acts of hatred. Also as educators and students, we have the responsibility to learn about the historical and cultural context of genocide and colonization that has maintained and upheld a superiority and inferiority binary as well as a power structure of economic oppression that has also maintained systemic, structural, and institutional racism under the guise of “We The People.” In these times of uncertainty and the Dixiecrat dog whistling era reminiscent of the 1960s and after this past weekend, is it time to talk about what a racial/diverse collective looks like to address inequities for those of us who are considered the “other” and to make our voices heard more on a legislative platform to hold those that we vote for accountable regarding morality, humility and civility.
Some powerful tools and resources to be aware of are:
- From the Southern Poverty Law Center - The Alt-Right on campus: What students need to know
- From Facing History - US Reconstruction and its aftermath
- From Facing History - Holocaust and Human Behavior
If you ever feel victim to bias, contact the Bias Response and Referral Network by submitting a report using UReport, calling the BRRN at 612-314-3850, reaching out to a member of the BRRN, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we start the academic year, we are committed to making our office a place of hope and a place where students can be a part of positive change for a better future in which everyone feels welcomed, respected, and valued.
Alexander Hines, Director - CLA Diversity, Equity, and Access Programs
Leah Milojevic, Asst. Director - CLA Diversity, Equity, and Access Programs