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K-State Today Special Issue

September 15, 2016



A letter from interim Associate Provost for Diversity Zelia Wiley

By Zelia Wiley

Dear students, faculty and staff,

On Sept. 15, the university received notice that a derogatory social message and photo was sent out via social media. The involved person is not currently enrolled at the university. It is our understanding the second individual in the photo is not associated with the university.

Immediately upon notification, the Campus Climate Response Team, or CCRT, which consists of representatives from the Office of Diversity, Office of Institutional Equity, Office of Student Life, the K-State Student Union and Division of Communications and Marketing, met to address this recent social media posting. This racially offensive photo with a derogatory message has upset the K-State family and is not in concert with our principles of community. Such messages on social media are harmful to all.

In cooperation with the Office of Student Life and the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, the university will reinforce its value for diversity and inclusion while also communicating our principles of community for all students, faculty and staff. As an integral part of the response to this concern, the university will offer support services to any affected student and also will contact the involved parties. This incident supports our continued proactive outreach and cultural training efforts to the students, faculty and staff. Additionally, our office is working diligently with the Student Governing Association, or SGA, its multicultural student coordinator and interested student groups to realize its Diversity 2025 goals, which include social justice.

The Office of Diversity mentors and advises our various multicultural student organizations, especially our core groups — the Black Student Union, or BSU; Hispanic American Leadership Organization, or HALO; Asian American Student Union; and Native American Student Association — who have shown leadership in raising the university's awareness to these incidents in a thoughtful way. We also support our affinity groups, Black Faculty Staff Alliance, or BFSA, Alianza, LGBTQ Faculty Staff Alliance and Indigenous Alliance who are not immune to such comments and yet they work to support and mentor our future leaders.

As members of the K-State family, we should always visualize and work toward a safe, welcoming environment for our community. I and other members of the CCRT welcome the opportunity to speak with our affected students and employees as we continue create a culture of inclusion for the entire K-State family.

Yours in service,
Dr. Zelia Wiley

In this issue

From the administration