Broad cultural change takes all of us

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Members of the App State Community,

 Over the weekend and into today, I have had many conversations with members all across the App State community. I am immensely saddened and angered by the death of George Floyd and acknowledge the deep societal problems we are still facing that led to his death, the death and mistreatment of so many others, and which also affect students, faculty and staff on our campus. I find great hope in yesterday’s peaceful demonstration, as well as in the words and the work of our Chief of Police Andy Stephenson and our Chief Diversity Officer Willie Fleming. Their words have been important university responses to the death of  George Floyd, yet there have been numerous additional responses from faculty, staff, students and administrators. These have taken the form of personal expressions of support, departmental emails, social media posts, and joining together virtually or in person to demonstrate that we are willing to do the work necessary to make our community inclusive of all.

In my first year at App State, I sent a message to campus saying that college campuses across the nation, and in North Carolina in particular, were instrumental to the Civil Rights movement 50 years ago. America’s youth, particularly college students, forced our nation to face ugly truths and begin the process of reconciling them. It is fitting that college campuses continue to be a significant and important part of holding our nation accountable for institutionalized racism and acts of violence and injustice.

Broad cultural change takes all of us, and it is led from multiple areas across our campus. I am proud to foster, support and resource this work. From the broad-based work of the university’s Chief Diversity Officer to the specific goals of the App State Police Academy – from the work by many staff and faculty to recruit and retain a more diverse student body to all of the programming that takes place in departments, clubs and organizations, this is a university that is dedicated to facing hard truths and working together to develop meaningful solutions.

We are not without our own challenges, but I pledge continued, critical resources to the many areas across campus that are coming together and helping our community chart a path for continued change. We are becoming a stronger, more mindful, and more inclusive community of people who, individually and together, can make real and powerful changes in communities well beyond our campus.

/s/ Sheri Everts

Sheri Everts, Chancellor