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
Educating students and the Division of Student Affairs staff about racism, bias, and inclusion
Developing physical and virtual spaces in alignment with our values
Prioritizing representation and inclusion
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.
Dr. Amy Hecht
Vice President for Student Affairs
Angela Lauer Chong, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Dr. Brandon Bowden
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Director, The Career Center
Tricia Buchholz, J.D.
Director, Title IX
Dr. Shelley Ducatt
Senior Associate Dean of Students & Director of Student Support & Transitions
Dr. Carlos Gomez
Director, University Counseling Center
Dr. Amy Magnuson
Director, University Health Services
Christopher J. Morris
Director, Campus Recreation
Dr. KC White
Interim Director, Student Conduct & Community Standards
Dr. Matthew Ducatt
Director, Oglesby Union
Dr. Cynthia Green
Director, Center for Global Engagement
Dr. Joi Phillips
Interim Director, Center for Leadership & Social Change
Dr. Tadarrayl Starke
Director, Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement
Dr. Danielle Morgan Acosta
Interim Director of Student Engagement
Director, Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life
Dr. Shannon Staten
Executive Director, University Housing
Chief Financial Officer
Dr. Aron Myers
Director, Marketing & Communications
Director, Information Technology & Business Relationship Management
Dr. Jillian M. Volpe White
Director, Strategic Planning & Assessment