University D&I Statements

Below is an archive of community statements about societal concerns, updates, and issues that were released via email to the campus.  

Dear Maverick, 

 

On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, was shot and killed by police while sleeping in her Louisville apartment. On Wednesday, September 23, a Kentucky grand jury indicted Brett Hankson, a former Louisville police officer, on charges of wanton endangerment for firing a weapon without a clear target in connection to the case. However, charges were not pushed forward related to the murder of Breonna Taylor, who was killed innocently.  

 

The murder of Breonna Taylor, an essential worker who just finished back-to-back shifts as an emergency medical technician, and the verdict from the grand jury has left more pain and hurt in our greater campus community. While this letter does not take away that pain or hurt, we want you to know that your hurt and pain are felt and shared.  

 

Racism and systems of oppression are deeply rooted in our country’s ethos. It requires all of us to work together to uproot and dismantle it at its core. This means we all have a part to play in moving us forward as a country. Play your part, have difficult conversations about race, attend a Diversity and Inclusion workshop or webinar, and vote on a local, state, and national level.   

 

We want you to know that you are not alone. There are several resources and outlets available on campus to help you process the recent announcement, pain that is felt, and hurt that has been inflicted. Below are just a few of the many ways to seek support and be heard.  

  • “Black Mental Health Matters” hosted by African American Affairs every other Monday from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The program provides group counseling sessions with African American counselors to debrief, distress, and process the realities of life. For more information, please contact Kenneth Reid via email at Kenneth.Reid@mnsu.edu 
  • The Counseling Center provides students with free, confidential individualized counseling, group counseling, and more. Visit their website for more information on counseling services, outreach and educational programs, and consultations.  
  • Diversity and Inclusion Staff are #here2help! Connect with a member of Diversity and Inclusion about ways we can support and assist you during these times. It could include providing a listening ear, connecting you to campus resources, or equipping you with tools to have courageous conversations with friends or family. Connect with us here! 

We are living in very tumultuous times as a nation and world. We are impacted by social and racial injustices, the global pandemic (COVID-19), a divisive political climate. We encourage you to find and provide support in one another during these times, as well as utilize campus resources. When we work together, we can enact change that we want to see on our community, state, and nation. Together we will continue to speak out against injustices and unite as a Maverick Family.  

 

Sincerely, 

 

Dr. Henry Morris 

Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion 

 

Dear Campus Community,

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to reject the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection to undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. DACA provides the more than 700,000 people known as “dreamers” with the opportunity to work legally in the United States and provides protection against deportation as long as they follow the program rules and have a clean record.

Today’s ruling is a step in the right direction in continuing to protect these vulnerable individuals, but it does not end the national and political deliberations on a long-term strategy or solution for the immigration system and pathways to citizenship. More work is needed to find a permanent solution to these national challenges.

I pledged to you in my September 8, 2017 campus message announcing the Trump administration’s decision to terminate DACA that I would stand with my colleagues across the state and nation to oppose this action and to work toward a solution that was in the best interest of our DACA students. I also pledged our commitment to promoting a welcoming and safe environment to each one of our students, faculty and staff. I continue to uphold these pledges to you. We all must continue to work together to assure our University is a place where everyone can pursue their dreams.

It is also important to note that the DACA ruling does not impact the Minnesota DREAM Act, which provides students who graduate from a Minnesota high school and meet other requirements the ability to receive in-state resident tuition and qualify for public or privately-funded financial aid at Minnesota public colleges and universities. We encourage all students who are interested in DREAM Act benefits to contact Guadalupe Quintero at 507-389-2811 or guadalupe.quintero@mnsu.edu to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to enroll in this program.

Diversity and access to education are among our core values as an institution. The recent Supreme Court action reinforces our commitment to providing quality higher educational opportunities to all students, and to actively nurture the passion within students to push beyond what they thought possible on the way to realizing their dreams. As we go through these turbulent times it is important that we hold firm to our commitment to the DACA program, as well as our commitment to support inclusiveness and equal rights in everything we do at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Sincerely,

 

Richard Davenport
President

Dear Mavericks,

Our nation is under siege - from the coronavirus, hunger, racism, and police violence. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells have caused tremendous pain to the families and communities touched by their lives. And until we act together, this list will continue to grow.

Each of the communities we serve are experiencing hurt, fear, agitation, and an energy to respond and act. Diversity and Inclusion shares that pain and energy. We also share your strength. Strength through the subsequent protests and marches, both local and worldwide, which demand Black Lives Matter, strength through the rallies that affirm Trans Black Lives Matter, and strength that our collective voices cannot be silenced by systemic racism and systems of oppression.

For our colleagues and students who are awakening to white supremacy and racism, we need you to personally show up. Those who have been doing antiracism work are exhausted and need you to sustain the work. We’re in this for the long haul.

Diversity and Inclusion staff at Minnesota State University Mankato wants all our students to know that we see your hurt and know that you are tired of seeing the senseless murdering of our Black people, people of color, and indigenous people. You are not alone! We will continue to work with our campus partners - and greater Mankato community - to dismantle racism and White supremacy.

We love and support you in our Maverick Family. Understanding the recent events may be added trauma for people, we are here for you and to refer you to support services. We are here to help!

In solidarity,

 

Diversity & Inclusion

Dear Maverick,

Reverend Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister at Kings United Church of Christ in Missouri, said, "It is impossible to be unarmed when my Blackness is the weapon you fear."

For far too long we’ve had to witness the deaths of unarmed Black people. We’ve been told that when we go on a run, we’re endangering lives (Ahmaud Arbery). We’ve been told that the toy guns, specifically made for children, make officers feel threatened (Tamir Rice). We’ve been told that even when we are in our home we aren’t safe (Breonna Taylor). Even when we suffer from mental illnesses, we threaten people (Dontre Hamilton). The names of Black individuals who have lost their lives are endless, but we will not forget them.

Black Student Union (BSU), Black Intelligent Gentlemen (BIG), and Black Motivated Women (BMW) are appalled by not only the recent events that have resulted in the unjust murder of George Floyd but also the events that have haunted us since our ancestors were forcefully brought to “The Land of the Free”. Our people have been murdered, beaten, persecuted, and tortured for over 400 years without end, and the time has come where we must rise and say “enough is enough”.

We stand with each of you in your endeavors to make a better world for ALL of us, whether you are volunteering, peacefully protesting on the frontlines, advocating at your school and/or workplace, or on social media, we are with you and will continue to stand in solidarity with you. We will continue to stand until there is justice and there is no fear in being Black in America. We will continue to stand.
We will also send resources that are specifically for, but are not limited to, Black people in a separate email. In the meantime, we would like to inform everyone that the NAACP does have a chapter on campus if any students are interested in helping to make a difference on MNSU’s campus in the Fall.

If there is anything that you feel our groups can do to help you now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via our organization's email addresses that are listed below.

Please take care of yourself and be safe!

Sincerely,

 

Bola Ogunlana
2020 President
Black Student Union
blackstudentunion@mnsu.edu

Michelle Asare
2020 President
Black Motivated Women
blackmotivatedwomen@mnsu.edu

Michael Osei
2020 President
Black Intelligent Gentlemen
bigmnsu@gmail.com

 

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

This has been a devastating week for the city of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota and our nation. I was deeply saddened by the tragic and unnecessary death of Mr. George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. Our hearts go out to Mr. Floyd’s family during this incredibly difficult time. Mr. Floyd’s death has been followed by increasingly dangerous and destructive protests and riots in the city of Minneapolis these past few nights.

While the damage and looting of private property is not condoned, we support the issues and concerns expressed regarding the unjust treatment of our underrepresented populations. These issues must be addressed universally throughout our nation.

We can do better as a society to protect all members of our communities, and higher education plays a vital role in educating and leading this work. In fact, the System and University’s focus on Equity 2030 goals and objectives directly addresses these issues before us. Our academic programs regularly undergo review to ensure our programs and curriculum are relevant. I am encouraged to learn that our Department of Government, including our Law Enforcement Program, is already reviewing curriculum and best practices, and engaging with our students in open discussions with multiple perspectives to devise solutions; ensuring that our graduates are fully prepared to work in a multicultural society.

Here at Minnesota State University, Mankato, we have a rich history of commitment to diversity and inclusion. We welcome all students and are proud that we increased our minority populations from 4% to over 17% in the last 15 years, and we are working hard to increase our retention and completion rates for all students, especially our students of color, and to close the opportunity gap.

I am immensely proud of the leadership of our Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Henry Morris, and the entire Diversity and Inclusion staff, who are providing guidance, support and mentoring to our students and community members, especially during these difficult times. Diversity and Inclusion staff are available to support our students, faculty and staff, and can be reached at 507 389-1150 or online at https://mankato.mnsu.edu/university-life/diversity-and-inclusion/.

I recognize the powerful impact these public and local events may have in your lives and in the lives of your loved ones. It is natural to experience many reactions, thoughts and feelings during this time. The University is committed to giving students, staff and community members opportunities for real conversations on these universal issues to help process thoughts and emotions, and to strive for a better tomorrow.

I would encourage you to turn to your colleagues, friends, family, and spiritual practices for comfort and guidance. In addition, remember the health resources available through medical plans, Virgin Pulse, and other SEGIP benefits, as well as the Employee Assistance Program which provides free, confidential support for employees and their families any time; call 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719. Additionally, our Counseling Center is also available to our students by contacting 507-389-1455 or email counseling-center@mnsu.edu.

Thank you for all you do to make our university, our state and our nation a stronger and more inclusive environment.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Campus Community:

In recent days, the federal government announced it is implementing a policy change, directed by President Donald Trump, to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) – a program established in 2012 to protect undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors from deportation.

Here at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Minnesota State System we are united in opposition to ending DACA for many reasons, including the undermining of our commitment to Diversity and Access to our programs and services that create opportunities for all to pursue their dreams.

As your President, I stand with other college and university presidents nationwide through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), as well as the American Council on Education (ACE) in opposing the decision to end DACA. Likewise, I pledge my support to work with Minnesota State Interim Chancellor Devinder Malholtra and statewide colleagues in voicing our concerns to our State’s Congressional delegation, and working toward a solution that is in the best long-term interests of all DACA students and employees.

Finally, I pledge my support to anyone within the Minnesota State Mankato campus community who may be affected by this federal government decision. We are committed to promoting a welcoming and safe environment to each one of our students, faculty and staff. We must all work together to assure our University is a place where everyone can pursue their dreams. Should you have questions or concerns please contact my office or any member of my Cabinet.

Sincerely,



Richard Davenport
President

Dear Students and Colleagues,

You have all undoubtedly learned of the recent and terrible news from Charlottesville, Virginia that occurred this past weekend. My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the Charlottesville community and those affected by this tragedy.

As I stated in my convocation remarks, the Charlottesville events are reprehensible and we must oppose such events from occurring in our state and on our campus. We must continue to prepare our future generations to think and act responsibly, promote open and respectful discussion, and discover solutions for contentious societal issues. Advocacy, as you know, is best achieved through peaceful means and engaging in conversations to better understand the issues.

Here at Minnesota State University, Mankato, we lead with our strong core values. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, incivility and unjust treatment of others. We condemn all acts and messages of hate by white supremacist groups, neo-Nazis and anyone seeking to inflict divisive agendas on our world. I ask that you continue to be supportive and do your part to make Minnesota State Mankato a welcoming and inclusive university.

Please see the statement below from Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra regarding the events in Charlottesville.

I look forward to greeting you throughout the many activities occurring in the coming days.

Sincerely,

 

Richard Davenport
President


Statement from Chancellor Devinder Malhotra regarding the events in Charlottesville

The month of August at our colleges and universities is a time of optimism as a new academic year gets underway. But the horrific events over the weekend on and near the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have served as a stark reminder that higher education is not immune to exposure to those who promote hate, intolerance, and oppression.

What was under attack in Virginia was the values our colleges and universities hold dear: That our campuses are places of hope and opportunity for all people; That our commitment to diversity and inclusion makes our campuses and our communities stronger; That our campuses welcome the robust but civil debate and discussion of ideas; That the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech but not the right to harm those with whom we disagree.

Our campus communities are committed to speaking out against the efforts of those who would attempt to divide us based on our differences.

We stand with the University of Virginia, the City of Charlottesville, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that our campuses are safe places free of intimidation or fear, where ideas can be debated and where all students – no matter their race or creed or gender – can learn and grow.