Keeping our focus on inclusiveness
Last month, we celebrated two key milestones for Appalachian: the 50th Anniversary of Women’s Sports on our campus, and the ribbon cutting for the National Panhellenic Plots and Garden. This month, we will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the university’s LGBT Center.
These events celebrate just a few important events in Appalachian’s history of inclusivity. On our campus, we have an intentional, institutional commitment to inclusive excellence. This work is sometimes easier than at other times, but because we do intentional work across our campus every day, we can rise to the challenge to lead from where we are – no matter where we are – as members of the Appalachian Community.
As we strive for inclusive excellence of all members of Appalachian’s Community, the unfortunate reality is our university regularly manages instances of hatred, bigotry and ignorance that attempt to stoke fear and anxiety and divide and factionalize our community. You may be aware of some of them and you may not. These incidents are, unfortunately, all too common on college campuses.
Our institutional commitment first and foremost is to the safety and security of our students.
With this in mind, I want to take a moment to let you know the university response process when expressions are made on our campus that target any group who are members of the Appalachian Community:
- We investigate.
- We put together a response team.
- We evaluate risk to our community. All decisions are made with safety considerations top of mind.
- We reach out immediately to find and assist students who might be in need of support. If necessary, we expand this to faculty and staff as well.
- We communicate. Initially we do this through small meetings, one-on-one conversations and responses to inquiries. We broaden communications as necessary, sometimes widening messages to include our entire campus community. We are very intentional about communications in order not to lend legitimacy and publicity to acts or speech that might intensify. College campuses are often targets for outside groups that seek a broader venue.
Most importantly, we educate – proactively. Both in and beyond the classroom, we provide opportunities that break down barriers that divide our community and other communities.
Our Appalachian Community comes together to support one another every day.
Here’s what you can do:
- If you feel unsafe, contact App State Police.
- If you are aware of any students who may be affected who have not reached out for support, please help us by encouraging them to reach out to the Dean of Students Office in room 324, Plemmons Student Union. They can go in person, call 828-262-8284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report instances of bias.
- Reach out to our Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Willie Fleming, who can provide guidance, support, referrals and educational resources.
- Take advantage of educational opportunities and programs and engage in class discussions.
Together, we can all learn more, do more and be more.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor