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Observe and Reflect Today

Posted June 4, 2020

Dear members of the Metropolitan State University community,

The past ten days have been turbulent. We are profoundly affected by George Floyd’s killing and the waves of grief and anger that have gripped our country. Some of our campus community members live in neighborhoods that have been forever changed by the expressions of those strong emotions through passionate, and sometimes violent, behavior towards other. Many are searching for ways to help, whether it is reaching out to offer support and assistance, or planning for actions. We want to help our communities heal and to make the needed changes in racist and oppressive systems.

I am grateful that despite our own sorrow, outrage, confusion, and exhaustion, so many of you are caring for others and offering ideas for both short- and long-term action. Our university’s commitment to an anti-racist learning community and to the engagement with and in our communities is strong. We will take action; we will persist.

 Next steps:

  • George Floyd’s memorial service is today. While the in-person service is a private one, the Floyd family is livestreaming the service on media outlets from 1-3 p.m. During this time, please feel free to take time to pause, observe and reflect on our university’s mission and the work we must do to more fully realize our intentions. I am asking supervisors to allow time for this reflection period.
  • I will be setting up some open virtual office hours next week so that those who would like to talk with me will have that opportunity. An announcement of times will follow. I am appreciative of those across the university community who have taken time to gather virtually with colleagues, students and friends to share their feelings and offer mutual support.
  • We have many talented individuals in our university community who are skilled in facilitating difficult conversations, and over the next few weeks we will engage in the meaningful conversations much needed.
  • Some of our student organizations have expressed a desire to organize volunteer or fundraising efforts. We will take our lead from them and offer our support and assistance as requested.
  • I have noticed individuals reaching out to form various affinity groups. Thank you for doing so. Please let our Human Resources Officer, Deb Gehrke, or I know if you need any assistance or resources to form and sustain those groups.
  • As many of you know, after the departure of our former Equity, Inclusion and Affirmative Action Officer, Craig Morris, I planned to reorganize the Equity and Inclusion area to create a position that could bring more strategic focus to work to realize our strategic commitments to equity, inclusion and anti-racism, separating out the compliance and investigatory role. The national search was going to begin in September. The university cannot wait for all the obligatory details that must be attended to before I implement that plan. Thus, I am beginning a search, limited to our Minnesota State system and using the existing position description for the Equity, Inclusion and Affirmative Action Officer, for a person to take on the existing role for the next year. Hiring a temporary person will provide needed leadership for our equity and inclusion work, allow time for readjusting the work roles, and for launching a national search. The NOV for the temporary role will be posted on Monday, June 8.

There is much work ahead and I assure you that this university’s unwavering commitment to justice, equity, inclusion and the promise of higher education remains intact.

Let’s care for each other.
Virginia (Ginny) Arthur, President