Dear K Community,
As an institution that puts civic engagement at the heart of its mission, and as a community that works tirelessly toward justice, the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others hits us at our core.
When we watch the images in the news of George Floyd’s murder, we are witnessing the deadly consequences of systemic racism on the Black community and other communities of color. The outrage, pain, fear and sorrow are immeasurable. To all of our Black students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, we mourn with you, and we stand in solidarity with you against racism, violence and injustice.
As we reflect on the protests this weekend and all the work that needs to be done, I am committed to continuing our efforts on diversity and inclusion at K. Creating institutional and cultural change is a slow process—often too slow—and it’s imperative that we continue to work toward a community where everyone feels welcome and safe on campus.
It is also important that we carry on with community partnerships and curricular and co-curricular experiences that address structural barriers and inequality in our larger society. Our graduates are among leading voices fighting for issues like access to health care, solutions to gun violence, job access, food and farming justice—and their experiences as K students formed the foundation of so much of their work. Our educational mission to foster enlightened leadership has never felt more critical.
More immediately, I encourage everyone in the K community to support our students, colleagues and friends of color. Take care of one another. Speak out against racism and bias. Listen to and lift up voices of color. And students, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Counseling Center if you need someone to talk to during these difficult times. You can call them at 269.337.7191, or you can contact Dr. Kenlana Ferguson at Kenlana.Ferguson@kzoo.edu. Resources are also available to employees through our Employee Assistance Program. Connect confidentially by calling 1.800.854.1446 (multi-lingual) or by visiting www.unum.com/lifebalance.