Dear University Community,
Like so many of you, I have struggled to understand the terrible events that have shaken our nation during the last week.
Two more police shootings of black men have traumatized families and communities in Louisiana and Minnesota. A sniper targeted police officers at a peaceful protest in Dallas. All three incidents came very soon after the recent shootings in Orlando. None of us can fully imagine the suffering that these events have caused so many families, and of course our thoughts and concern go out to the victims and others who have been affected.
Many challenging issues and injustices are wrapped up in these events, which clearly expose deep and painful divisions in our society. As a community of learning and as individuals who care about creating a more just society, we naturally want to respond in a positive and meaningful way.
Members of our community need our support, including faculty, staff, and many students who are in the area during the summer. They may identify closely with those who have been targeted, or fear for their own safety as they learn about what has happened elsewhere. I encourage you to offer your care when it is needed and to take the time to listen.
We must continue to demonstrate that we value our community and that we truly respect and embrace diversity in all forms. This includes speaking up to challenge bias. It also includes educating ourselves, questioning our assumptions, participating in discussions, and getting outside our usual comfort zone.
I expect that many discussions about these recent incidents, and issues related to them, will occur in and out of our classrooms this fall semester. More immediately, two campus-related activities are scheduled that I invite you to participate in.
- At 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 13, interested students, faculty, and staff are invited to gather in Nelson Hall East 106. This is a chance to offer support, as well as to discuss how HSU might address issues at a local level while also participating in the national conversation.
- At 7 p.m., Thursday, July 14 HSU Police Chief Donn Peterson will be participating in a roundtable discussion on KHSU’s Thursday Night Talk (90.5 FM and streaming at khsu.org). The focus will be on issues raised by last week’s incidents.
For those students seeking additional support during this time, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students (Siemens Hall 211) at 707.826.3504. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.
Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.