“Two viruses,” said one newscaster. America is dealing with two viruses: COVID-19, which is new, and racism, which is not. There is no vaccine for either, but we must continue to work toward a cure for both. While in the midst of a pandemic, we have been confronted with some ugly facts about race in America. But we can’t let either deter us from what we are working toward— a Shippensburg University that embraces all people and supports its students in achieving their higher education goals.
“Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ‘only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.’ Darkness fills our communities right now, but we are building the stars of support and a place where all members of our community feel safe.”
We are grieving with the members of our community who have lost hope and are demanding a new form of justice. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” Darkness fills our communities right now, but we are building the stars of support and a place where all members of our community feel safe. This supportive community will light our way into the future. For so many, a Shippensburg education is the hope for a better future. As a community, we hope for a better world by doing our part in making all people feel safe and included. We must live out our values in ways that allow all members of the Shippensburg University community to thrive.
Last year, as a university community, we began to address the issues of inclusion and belonging on our campus. We continue that work into the next academic year with additional training for faculty, staff and our police department, more courageous conversations and workshops and training for student leaders, and incorporating the work into all aspects of campus, including residence life.
In addition, The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance is developing a more holistic approach to learning about diversity from each other moving from the traditional “Day of Human Understanding” to monthly “Days” of conversations among students, faculty, and staff to give everyone a voice in making Ship a safe space for all. Having deliberate conversations more often means not only are there more opportunities for conversation, but that more people can be engaged in the conversations.
These initiatives and others that will derive from the evolving work toward creating a more welcoming and inclusive community are supported by the Student Government Association, university administration, and the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees. We succeed when we confront these challenges to our values together. Today, we join our voices for the good of our nation and our beloved university and the students, alumni, faculty, and staff who, through this work, can proudly declare Shippensburg University their community.
Laurie A. Carter, President
L. Michael Ross, Chair, Council of Trustees
Stephen L. Washington, Jr., Student Government Association President