Open letter from President Jann L. Joseph and campus leadership

Dear GGC Community,

I am both troubled and saddened by the events that have been taking place in our country.  I don’t bear this burden alone and know that I am not alone in my feelings of anxiety and despair.  I suspect that many, if not all of you, feel something similar as well. 

What we’re witnessing is not only outrage over George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a list of other lives that were senselessly lost; but we’re also watching public outrage at a consistent and long history of racial injustices, marginalization, and socio-economic inequalities that have plagued our country for far too long.

In a time where it feels like not much makes sense, we do know that the fires will extinguish, the riots will stop, the outrage will subside, the news cameras will move on, the stores will reopen, and eventually the pandemic will end. Nonetheless, we recognize that systemic pain, poverty, injustice, and inequality will remain unless we engage in constructive activities to transform our future.

The purpose of this letter is not to patronize our community or attempt to minimize the strong emotions that you are feeling.  There is not a message that will come from the administration that will undo the range of emotions that many if not all of us have felt, whether those feelings are felt personally or because someone we know has experienced what it feels like to be treated differently, simply because you are viewed as different.

However, we are all different, and at GGC, we strive to celebrate everyone AND their differences.  The one thing that everyone reading this message has in common is that we are a part of GGC; thus, my hope is that everyone reading this message will be committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment at GGC because we are Grizzly Strong.

As we look to build and move forward, the campus as a whole has to be involved in a renewed commitment to our inclusive environment. That includes EVERYONE.  We cannot necessarily control what happens in the world, but we can and will control what happens on our campus, in our classrooms, and in the interactions that take place between students, faculty, and staff.  Racism and bigotry have no place on our campus.  We should see humans on the inside by looking beyond the color of their skin.

To everyone who may feel targeted, or undervalued, or hated, based on nothing more than the color of your skin, your disability, your national origin, or anything else that makes you “different,” remember that your GGC family values you and appreciates you for who you are.

Evidenced by the names of campus leadership at the bottom of this letter, every department on this campus is in support of you as we strive to continue fostering an inclusive and equitable environment at GGC.  For those who would like information regarding mental health resources, please click on the links below for more information.

https://www.beam.community/bvtn
https://www.thestevefund.org
https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Diverse-Communities/African-American-Mental-Health

Thank you for being you, thank you for your differences, and thank you for being a part of GGC. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jann Joseph
President

Campus Leadership in Support of this Letter

Dr. T.J. Arant, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs/Provost
Mr. Frank Hardymon, Vice President for Business and Finance
Mr. Michael Poll, Vice President for Enrollment Management Services
Dr. Christine Miller Divine, Vice President for Information Technology
Dr. Michelle Rosemond, Vice President for Student Engagement and Success
Mr. Terry Schneider, Associate Vice President for Operations, and Chief of Police
Ms. Katherine Kyle, Associate Vice President of Human Resources
Ms. Sloan Jones, Associate Vice President of Communications
Ms. Jennifer Hendrickson, Associate Vice President of Advancement
Ms. Luann Causland, Executive Assistant to the President
Ms. Rebekah Myers, General Counsel and Chief Legal Affairs Officer
Mr. Jarmon DeSadier, Executive Director of Office of Diversity & Equity Compliance
Ms. Hayley Howell, Director of Government Relations
Mr. Russ Mathis, Auditor
Dr. Darin Wilson, Associate Vice President for Athletics and Athletics Director
Dr. Laurel Holland, Interim Dean, School of Liberal Arts
Dr. Justin Jernigan, Dean, School of Transitional Studies
Mr. Tomas Jimenez, Dean of Students
Ms. Barbara Mann, Dean of Library Services
Dr. Dymaneke Mitchell, Interim Dean, School of Education
Dr. Joseph Sloop, Ph.D., School of Science and Technology
Dr. Diane E. White, Dean, School of Health Sciences
Dr. Tyler Yu, School of Business

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