Message from the Chairperson
As all of us try to come to terms with what is happening to us, around us, and especially to those quite directly affected by the events of the last days, weeks, and months, I wanted to add my voice to that of the Dean’s. The courage of those who shared the horrors of what happened to them, and reliving their traumas through media depictions is beyond my comprehension; as a person and as a parent I can’t shake their words or their faces, and do not feel I should as they represent why change is so important.
As members of the MSU community, we share a responsibility to create and support inclusive environments for learning and being, where dialogue, active listening, trust and respect have to be. Even when we think we are constructively doing so in our classes, in our work with each other, and in our respective communities, as these events have shown, we have far to go. But as educators, we also are in a distinct position to engage in the conversations that are and will be taking place, in doing the kinds of research that unearth systemic biases that hide and enable behaviors such as those we have witnessed and the structures that created the cultures allowing this to continue for so long. As faculty who study educational policies and systems, who prepare educators and leaders for different settings, and who espouse certain values that have been fundamentally challenged by these events and what precipitated them, we have to make sure our work matters and that it leads to better outcomes than what is represented by what has come to pass.
I know we will proceed with care and respect so that others, and we ourselves, feel the needed support, and so that anxieties and pain already significant are not increased by casual comments or conjecture.
There are not clear answers to situations like this, but not responding also seems inappropriate. Thank you for being those to whom others can turn, myself included, and for your continued commitment to our educational purposes.
I appreciate you all,
Chairperson and Dr. Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education