Dear University community:
In a number of incidents this fall, members of our University community have been subjected to racial bias as well as racially motivated acts of violence. Many of us, our colleagues, and our friends have suffered emotional and physical harm. Meanwhile, ongoing issues at the national level have intensified the sense of injustice and the frustration that our society has not made better progress.
I know that racism is not the norm on our campus or in our neighboring communities. This is a caring place, with many thoughtful, open-minded, and well-intentioned people. Yet I also know that we hear too many stories about HSU students, staff, and faculty experiencing acts of overt racism and enduring on-going bias.
As a University with a deep commitment to social justice, we must re-dedicate ourselves to creating a more welcoming and inclusive community for our Students of Color and for all People of Color in Humboldt County. We all share responsibility for addressing inequity and for preventing racist ideas from taking root.
You can positively participate in many ways, including taking action in your daily activities at the University and in your neighborhood.
On campus, please consider participating in a number of upcoming activities. A “Black and Blue Dialogue” will be held this Thursday, Oct. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Kate Buchanan Room. The event will be presented by students from the African-American Center for Academic Excellence. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is developing a series of workshops on “Living in Humboldt” and a new Book Circle. For more information, contact that Office and watch for updates on their website.
A variety of other efforts are on-going. For example, a discussion of diversity and cultural sensitivity was added to new student orientation this year. A group of students recently shared their concerns with the Arcata City Economic Development Committee, which has led to plans for additional dialogue. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is working to create a Student Advisory Council, which will advise the office and also assist with community outreach. And HSU is working closely with other organizations in the county, including the Humboldt Area Foundation, on an initiative called the Equity Alliance of the North Coast, an 18-month effort highlighted by special speakers and training.
In addition, a resolution is being considered today by our University Senate. It expresses the Senate’s outrage at racial violence as well as its commitment to the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff of color.
At Humboldt State University, we are committed to the goal that everyone here will feel welcome and included. We have made real progress in living up to this ideal. Despite our shortcomings and despite the disheartening acts we aren’t able to prevent, I know we will continue to engage with one another to do even better.
With best wishes,
Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.