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Dear Florida State University Community,

For the past month, Black Lives Matter protests have swept the United States and echoed around the globe. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the numerous acts of injustice against Black people, only a fraction of which are elevated to the public consciousness, heightened awareness of endemic racism and systems of power and oppression that perpetuate structural inequities. At the same time, we face a global pandemic and previously unmatched unemployment, both of which are disproportionality affecting Black people. To the Black members of our community, we see you, and we honor your feelings of anger, grief, and exhaustion. We hear you when you say although diversity and inclusion is the stated culture of the institution, this is not a value you perceive in our words and actions.

Higher education is not exempt from policies and practices that harm Black students, staff, and faculty. Like many other institutions across the country, we are reckoning with a history that does not resonate with our values. It is not enough to commiserate; we must take meaningful action. In a message earlier this month, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Amy Hecht, shared our dedication to creating a more inclusive campus. The senior leadership team and directors of all the Division of Student Affairs departments commit to confronting white supremacy, listening to our Black students and staff, and actively working to dismantle racist systems that persist in the Division of Student Affairs and at Florida State University.

To that end, we commit to the following in alignment with our values and strategic plan and in support of the statement made by President Thrasher on Monday, July 7, 2020:

Prioritizing relationships and resources

  • The Division of Student Affairs will launch the Student Equity and Inclusion Office, a resourced office focused on education, training, and implementing programs and services to foster a more inclusive student experience.
  • We will create a divisional task force for student equity and inclusion charged with expanding upon these action steps and continuing to help move the Division of Student Affairs forward.
  • We will strengthen our relationship with Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in order to facilitate connections and dialogue for our student affairs professionals and students.
  • We will engage in sustained service with the community guided by local leaders.
  • We will hold an annual professional conference committed to the sharing of research and programs that focus on race, equity, justice, and inclusion.

Educating students and the Division of Student Affairs staff about racism, bias, and inclusion

  • We support required training on diversity and inclusion for all students and the creation of an educational outreach program about FSU’s history and relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  • Students in communities of influence will receive additional training on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The Division of Student Affairs will embed training on diversity, equity, and inclusion in onboarding as well as require training of all Student Affairs staff annually.
  • Supervisors will be evaluated on diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of their annual performance evaluation.
  • We will develop a comprehensive calendar of holidays (e.g., Juneteenth) and religious celebrations. This resource will include guidelines for planning inclusive programs.
  • We will expand on the Black Male initiative as well as develop initiatives for Black women and Black LGBTQ students.

Developing physical and virtual spaces in alignment with our values

  • We will audit Student Affairs buildings, spaces, publications, and websites to ensure visibility and representation of students. The Division of Student Affairs task force will also explore opportunities to educate the community through art in the new Union.
  • The Division of Student Affairs will lead the way for the campus community in using inclusive language and images on websites and in printed materials.
  • We will continue sharing a land acknowledgement statement at Student Affairs events and expand the events where the statement is read.

Prioritizing representation and inclusion

  • We echo our colleagues at the University of Florida: acting within state and federal laws, the Division of Student Affairs will intensify our efforts in recruiting, supporting and retaining our students, faculty and employees of color, particularly Black students, faculty and staff.
  • We will conduct regular climate surveys of students and staff. We will share the results of Student Affairs surveys publicly and use them to inform policy and practice.
  • The Division of Student Affairs will collaborate with the campus community to expand on existing recruitment events and create additional opportunities for recruitment with a focus on the history of FSU’s African American and Black students, faculty, and staff for prospective students and guests. Events and tours will highlight spaces, programs, and experiences that are of interest to prospective Black students.

To demonstrate a genuine commitment to change, we will hold ourselves accountable through sharing updates on our progress annually as part of the Division Student Affairs State of the Division address each January and annual reports each June.

George Floyd’s murder catalyzed a national reckoning that is particularly rooted in Black Lives Matter. We would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the intersectionality of identity and the ways in which sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and ableism are intertwined with racism. Our ongoing work must address oppression in all forms if we are to see a just and equitable society. We commit to supporting marginalized communities. This commitment to specific actions serves as a model for real change. We are dedicated to listening and improving Florida State University with and for all of our students.

We understand patience with the pace of change is a privilege. We commit to making as many changes as are in our power as soon as we are able. We ask for grace with one another, in face-to-face and online interactions. Within a historic legacy of inequity, there is no reason to assume best intent; we implore our community to give grace as we learn and unlearn, say the wrong thing, accept feedback, and engage in the uncomfortable and challenging work ahead.

Becoming anti-racist, advancing justice, and working toward equity is necessary for each of us and our community to reflect our values. Together, we will learn from the past, hold ourselves accountable in the present, and create a future that strengthens our community, state, nation, and world.

Sincerely,

Amy Hecht

Dr. Amy Hecht
Vice President for Student Affairs

Angela Chong

Angela Lauer Chong, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Brandon Bowden

Dr. Brandon Bowden
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

Myrna Hoover

Myrna Hoover
Director, The Career Center

Tricia Bucholz

Tricia Buchholz, J.D.
Director, Title IX

Shelley Ducatt

Dr. Shelley Ducatt
Senior Associate Dean of Students & Director of Student Support & Transitions

Carlos Gomez

Dr. Carlos Gomez
Director, University Counseling Center

Amy Magnuson

Dr. Amy Magnuson
Director, University Health Services

Christopher J. Morris

Christopher J. Morris
Director, Campus Recreation

K.C. White

Dr. KC White
Interim Director, Student Conduct & Community Standards

Matthew Ducatt

Dr. Matthew Ducatt
Director, Oglesby Union

Cynthia Green

Dr. Cynthia Green
Director, Center for Global Engagement

Joi Phillips

Dr. Joi Phillips
Interim Director, Center for Leadership & Social Change

Tadarrayl Starke

Dr. Tadarrayl Starke
Director, Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement

Danielle Morgan Acosta

Dr. Danielle Morgan Acosta
Interim Director of Student Engagement

Christopher Graham

Christopher Graham
Director, Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life

Shannon Staten

Dr. Shannon Staten
Executive Director, University Housing

Maclain Benton

Maclain Benton
Chief Financial Officer

Aron Myers

Dr. Aron Myers
Director, Marketing & Communications

Charlotte Souffront-Garcia

Charlotte Souffront-Garcia
Director, Information Technology & Business Relationship Management

Jillian M. Volpe White

Dr. Jillian M. Volpe White
Director, Strategic Planning & Assessment