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Metro State’s commitment to support, assistance and civil discourse

Posted March 10, 2021

An illustration of black man wearing a gray and black hoodie looks directly at the viewer. He stands in front of radiant light.

Portrait of George Floyd by Metropolitan State alumnus Adam Bucher (BookaB). Courtesy of the artist.

Read the Collective Response to the Killing of George Floyd, originally posted June 3, 2020

Metro State’s commitment to support, assistance and civil discourse

Updated April 20, 2021

We stand committed to provide assistance to you, our Metropolitan State community, as we focus on promoting dialogue and communication, providing support, and prioritizing the safety of the members of our community and campuses.

On April 20, 2021, we heard the verdict of Derek Chauvin, where he was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. Although extraordinarily difficult, the trial has been a powerful expression of our collective demand for racial justice.  

On April 14, 2021, Daunte Wright, a young Black man was killed by police in Brooklyn Center, MN. Demonstrations express the community’s grief and anger after his death, and join the on-going demonstrations calling for the dismantling of systemic racism and policing reform. 

We must recognize the trauma that many are experiencing – especially those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, or Asian American / Pacific Islander. These events are impacting our communities in dramatically different ways.  

During these very difficult times, faculty, staff, and students should hold fast to our principles and our commitments. The values of anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our mission, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to these values and ensuring that our campuses remain safe and welcoming places for all our students and employees. As an institution of higher learning, we fully support freedom of speech, freedom of expression, the right to peacefully protest, and to serve as strong advocates for social change. A marketplace of ideas and diversity of opinions is an essential part of the learning experience we offer to our students.

We also want to ensure safe and inclusive environments for everyone in our learning community, on and off campus. Metropolitan State University and its Minnesota State partner universities and colleges are committed to enhancing Minnesota's quality of life by developing and fostering understanding and appreciation of a democratic and diverse society.

The university faculty, staff, and students have several activities planned over the coming months to support our students and make them aware of university services that can help them cope with the many unknowns of the upcoming trial.

Student Support Events

  • Wednesday, April 21, 1–3 p.m.: Academic Advising
    Two academic advisors will be available to provide support in a safe space to help students connect to campus resources as well as listen to their needs and concerns during the Chauvin trial. Join on Zoom (no password required)
  • Thursday, April 22, 1–3 p.m.: Center for Accessibility Resources
    Staff are available to discuss any barriers you may be experiencing in school. Join on Zoom (password: 186775)
  • Monday, April 26, 9–10 a.m.: Equity and Inclusion Office/Senior Director of Equity and Inclusion
    Students are invited to connect during office hours to provide support to students and listen to their needs and concerns during the this time. Join on Zoom (no password required) 
  • Wednesday, April 28, 3–4 p.m.: MAIR
    MAIR staff invites all students, especially historically underrepresented students, to share their lived experiences, voice their concerns, and express their thoughts and feelings about the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial in a supportive, brave, and courageous space. Join on Zoom (password: 188897)

Connect with Metro State Staff via Zoom

During the Derek Chauvin trial, Metropolitan State University wishes to provide additional support for students. We have planned a series of “open office hours” via Zoom for students to access additional support in different areas across the university. Gateway Student Services, the Library and Learning Center, and Student Center remain open at the Saint Paul campus. Information about the various offices and hours are found on the Office Zoom Hours Schedule (you may need your Star ID to view).

Additionally, Metro State’s Counseling Services recognizes the significant harm caused by the longstanding and entrenched history of systemic racism. Our staff are committed to providing affirming and culturally-informed mental health services to Metro State students who have been either directly or vicariously affected by trauma. Contact Counseling Services if you (or someone you know) would like support with coping or healing. To schedule an appointment or for support, call 651-793-1568, 24/7/365.

We stand committed to provide assistance to you. If you prefer to meet in person, please contact the appropriate department to understand available options while providing support and prioritizing the safety of the members of our community and campuses.

Community and University Resources

The coming weeks and months will be difficult, especially for the Black community, who face another stark reminder of the grief and trauma. Systemic racism continues to impact Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, including encounters with law enforcement. Visit our list of links to community and university resources that Metro State students may find useful.

Multicultural, American Indian, and Retention Services

Multicultural, American Indian and Retention Services (previously known as Multicultural Affairs), promotes the academic success of historically underrepresented incoming, current and graduating students by providing retention programming and a wide range of services that includes advocacy and educational planning. Students are assisted and supported by the culturally-sensitive staff. The services are designed to enrich the academic and social experience of students while also connecting them to university and relevant community resources.

Culturally Responsive Student Success Coordinators

Visit MAIR for more information

 

Connect with Students

Get Involved

  • We are working on a series of webinar opportunities to help the campus community engage with and understand the many aspects of a trial like this one. Please watch your email and the website for more information in the coming weeks.
  • Multiple events already planned that are relevant for students who may be impacted by the trial.

Mental Health Support

Metro State’s Counseling Services recognizes the significant harm caused by the longstanding and entrenched history of systemic racism. Our staff are committed to providing affirming and culturally-informed mental health services to Metro State students who have been either directly or vicariously affected by trauma. Contact Counseling Services if you (or someone you know) would like support with coping or healing.

To schedule an appointment, call 651-793-1568.

Metro CARES line: for 24/7/365 support call 651-793-1568 and choose option zero (0)

For SUICIDE PREVENTION, 24/7, contact one of these free resources:

We hope you will help us share these important resources with our students. The more ways that students receive the information, the more likely it is that they will know how to get support or become engaged when they need to.

Faculty and Staff

We recognize that faculty and staff may also be experiencing difficult emotions and stress during the progress of the trial. We are currently working to schedule sessions to support and inform you as well. Please look for more information after spring break. Employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program at any time. For service, call 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719.

As we move through the eventful month of March, continue to support each other and build the anti-racist learning environment and community where all can thrive and achieve their goals. Hope and joy live in the work we do and the differences we make in the lives of others.

Never forget, we are #MetroStrong.

Collective Response to the Killing of George Floyd

Posted June 3, 2020

Dear Metro Students, Faculty and Staff,

George Floyd, a Black man, was tragically killed by a Minneapolis police officer in full view of the public on May 25, 2020. This inhumane act of brutality cannot be justified. The severity of our grief and anger will not silence us. To our community members who are hurting: we see you. We are grieving with you. We are here for you.

While most police officers are ethical and caring and do not abuse their power, they work within a system that is predicated on domination and oppression of those who are not white, thus the tragic and avoidable homicide of George Floyd is not an isolated incident. It is connected to a nation-wide epidemic facing communities of color.

In fact, footage was released earlier this month that showed civilians in Georgia killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, while he was jogging in his mother’s neighborhood. Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, was killed while in her home in Kentucky this past March. There are many such known and lesser known instances. In 2018, the American Public Health Association (APHA) declared law enforcement violence as a public health issue. Law enforcement violence further exacerbates social inequalities in our communities.

Our university-wide goals are to create a welcoming, culturally competent, anti-racist learning environment and to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to civic engagement. This commitment is outlined in our University Vision Statement and demands that we speak up against injustice in our communities, even when we are not directly targeted. Being a community where we acknowledge the horrific impact of systematic racism, Metropolitan State University strives to eliminate racism and violence.

To be anti-racist means we must stand strong, speak out, and act against all acts of racism, violence, hate, and discrimination. We are committed to the principle that all people are to be treated with equity and included as full members of our community in which we celebrate countless dimensions of diversity such as race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, economic, and/or marital status.

We recognize racism and law enforcement violence directly impacts the communities of many of our students, faculty and staff. We know individuals among the Metro State community have witnessed and experienced racialized violence from law enforcement. We must acknowledge that this happens in our communities, and to our community members, every day.

In addition to this acknowledgement, we also must provide spaces for dialogue that will lead us toward action to dismantle racism and all levels of inequity. Metropolitan State University, with faculty, staff, and students, will schedule learning circles where all will be welcome to share, to pose questions, and to move us to act against systemic racism in policies, procedures, and practices that devalue the lives and communities of Black people.

We must transcend all that divides us and work together within our community to address the problems of violence and conflict. Only through the collaborative efforts of all community members can we put an end to this injustice.

“RIGHT IS RIGHT
WRONG IS WRONG and
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

—Oluwafemi Okelola, Metropolitan State University Black Student Union President

Stronger together,

Ginny Arthur, J.D.
President of Metropolitan State University

School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice faculty: Lesli Blair, James Densley, Deborah Eckberg, Susan Hilal, Andrew Johnson, Bryan Litsey, Raj Sethuraju

Hamisha Alkamooneh
Metropolitan State University Student Association President

Victor Cole, MS.Ed.
Minnesota State University Association of Administrative and Service Faculty (ASF) President, Community Engagement Coordinator

Michelle Filkins, M.A.
Faculty Association Vice President, Professor of Library and Information Services

Matt Filner, Ph.D.
Incoming Faculty Association President, Professor of Political Science

Chris Gevara
Local 3998 President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Interlibrary Loan Technician

Amy Gort, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

Owen Hansen
Steward, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Online Learning Specialist

August Hoffman, Psy.D.
Faculty Association President, Professor of Psychology

Dina Inderlee
Chair, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Coordinator of Academic Operations

Janice Kwallek
Campus Representative, Middle Management Association (MMA), Office Manager, College of Sciences

Oluwafemi Okelola
Black Student Union President, Metropolitan State University

Rich Oswald
Steward, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Senior Network Administrator

Julie Severson
Local 3998 Vice President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Interim VA School Certifying Official

Matthew Spillum
Steward, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Editor and Copywriter

Jules Thompson, Ph.D.
Campus Representative, Middle Management Association (MMA), Director, Center for Academic Excellence and Writing Center

Tom Torgerud
Local 3998 Chief Union Steward, MinnState President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Parking Operations Coordinator