Message from President James Smith, Provost Rhonda Longworth, and Director of Diversity and Community Involvement Steven Bryant

May 29, 2020

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

Most of us have watched over the past few weeks, in horror, disbelief and anger, a series of racial incidents, including the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. There is no place in our society where these incidents make sense and they illuminate the institutional and systemic racism and discrimination that is woven through the fabric of our nation. Incidents like these, even in our own backyard, provide moments to stand firm, and speak loudly and clearly, that hate and discrimination are not acceptable. We join with many others in condemning the individuals and actions that caused George Floyd’s death and in firm denunciation of hate and violence that continue to confront our communities. We hope you each join us in this stance against injustice everywhere.

Public universities have served as community anchors during times of crisis.  As institutions of truth, justice and learning, it is critical that we be part of the solution and not further the inequities, injustices and racism that continue to plague our world. We can only imagine the hurt, anger, and fear our Black students and employees feel. We stand in solidarity with them and recognize that caring deeply is not enough. 

Grounded in Eastern Michigan University’s mission are our core values including respect for all individuals, inclusiveness, and responsibility. Our guiding vision embraces our role as a public institution anchored in and serving our community. We know we have much work to do, and at times fall short in living these values, but these values and commitments are in our breadth of work and service every day, no matter our role. All of us must look internally and work collectively to root out the inequities and injustices that continue to manifest. No matter how difficult it gets, or the setbacks and shortcomings we experience, we will continue to remain steadfast in fostering inclusive excellence throughout Eastern Michigan University.

James M. Smith, Ph.D., President

Rhonda Longworth, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs

Steven Bryant, Director of Diversity & Community Involvement and Chair of the President's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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