February 24, 2020
An affirmation of K-State values
Dear K-State Community:
For more than 150 years, we have been a place where access to knowledge is available to all, without regard of race, gender or creed. These values have been imbued in our culture since our founding in 1863, when an equal number of men and women comprised our first class. We share a strong history of coming together when those values are threatened.
We see groups and individuals across the country seeking to sow sexism, racism and other forms of bigotry. Our campus is not immune. Given the current political climate, we can expect these issues to continue throughout our national election cycle and beyond. We also know that rhetoric and the goals of some can be hurtful and cause some to be frightened. Please know that at K-State, the care and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains a top priority on our campuses. We need to reach out to those in our K-State family who are hurting and offer our support.
The first KSUnite in 2017 reminded us that we cannot be complacent or rest on past achievements. Since then, there have been many ways to get involved and have a voice. Just this month we hosted Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, the former president of Colombia, who gave eloquent advice on how to make peace. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to avail themselves to the many programs, events and groups on our campuses.
There have been many opportunities to learn and grow since this academic year started: Wildcat Dialogues; college-level Diversity Summits; Wildcat Warm-up; SPIRIT Program; Intercultural Leadership Council; Black Student Union Leadership Conference; Hispanic American Leadership Organization's Encuentro; KSUnite breakout sessions; JED Campus partnership; First-gen Friyay; Difficult Dialogues training; and the annual K-State Drag Show.
But we know there is more to do. We are in the midst of an all-university Climate Survey to help us measure how diversity and inclusion play a crucial role at the university. Your participation in the survey provides information about both positive and challenging aspects of our climate and to offer suggestions for change. The Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is rising at the heart of our campus to support substantial institutional change and growth. In March, we’ll host a visit from the national poet laureate Joy Harjo, an internationally known performer and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Our colleges now offer hundreds of courses in the areas of diversity and global perspectives. A study of 2019 graduates showed the average student took more than 10 credit hours of coursework in these areas. We applaud faculty members who expanded content on diversity and inclusion in our curricula across the academy. More than 60 faculty, staff and administrators have received their intercultural development inventory, or IDI, qualified administrator certification. These efforts continue to build and will make us intellectually stronger and more resilient.
Your individual participation in these opportunities is vital to our ability to make progress. Let's move forward in the spirit of honoring and upholding our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion, free speech and the right to assembly. We celebrate our diversity and value inclusion. We can't let people who think otherwise divide us.
We can reaffirm our values through our words and actions. We owe this to those who came before and those who will follow as we remain true to our land-grant heritage and mission.
Richard B. Myers