Diversity and Inclusion: Recognizing our Shortcomings, Working to Improve

Over the past few days, we were made aware of social media comments made by a few students that are racist, offensive and harmful to our community. We are appalled and disheartened that any member of the NC State community would choose to make such abhorrent statements.

To say the words and actions in those posts stand in complete opposition to NC State’s values is an understatement.

As a public institution, NC State is bound by privacy laws such that we cannot share information about individual students or the specifics of investigations. We know that many will not be satisfied with this response, but please know these incidents are being addressed.

At this challenging time across our nation, and in our own community, we want to be clear where NC State leadership stands: We stand against and condemn white supremacy, racial injustice and all forms of racism and discrimination. NC State’s Black students, faculty and staff deserve a campus culture where they feel safe, supported, respected and valued. We are committed to doing all we can to protect, promote and advance diversity, equity and inclusion at NC State.

These incidents remind us that we fall far short of where we aim to be. We need to do more and do better. As a Wolfpack, we must remain united and committed – every one of us must actively contribute to help ensure a more diverse and inclusive environment. And, we need to be innovative and try new ideas and approaches to embrace and advance diversity and inclusion.

We may not get it right every time, but we are committed to listening to the voices and lived experiences of those impacted and challenging ourselves to do the work necessary to build a more just and equitable NC State.

As one first step, in the coming academic year, we will require every student, faculty and staff member to complete diversity and inclusion learning modules. This will include every member of Cabinet as well as all of the deans, directors and department heads of the university.

As another step, we are assembling an interdisciplinary team to evaluate NC State’s policies, examine every opportunity to strengthen them against racism and discriminatory behavior, and modify, where allowed by law, to bolster our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

When students return in the fall, we commit to working with them to collaboratively review NC State’s Code of Student Conduct and examine opportunities for improving and strengthening the code, where allowed by law. We will also work with students to review, update and improve our university’s statement of values. When complete, we will expect every student at NC State to uphold these values that define the inclusive and supportive culture that we seek for our community.

Additionally, when students, faculty and staff return to campus, we want to move to a place of dialogue and partnership to have difficult but necessary conversations, better gauge what is needed, what is possible, and working together, what we’re going to do about it. We are working on a plan to facilitate those discussions.

These are not the last things we will do, and they are not nearly enough to overcome the many challenges related to actively addressing both the individual acts of racism and the system of racism to foster belonging for all. But they are a few next steps, and we are fully committed to doing more to keep moving forward.

We are a university that is about transforming lives and making the world a better place. This mission is more important today than ever before. We have much work yet to do, work that will require humility, empathy, resilience, hope and engagement. We remain committed to striving today and every day to ensure a university climate that embraces, values and advances a diverse, inclusive and supportive campus culture.

W. Randolph Woodson | Chancellor
Warwick Arden | Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Charles Maimone | Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Brad Bohlander |Chief Communications Officer, Associate Vice Chancellor of University Communications
Boo Corrigan | Director of Athletics
Marc I. Hoit | Vice Chancellor for Information Technology
Kevin Howell | Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development
Sheri L. Schwab | Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Brian Sischo | Vice Chancellor for University Advancement
P.J. Teal | Secretary of the University and Assistant to the Chancellor
Mladen Vouk | Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Marie Williams | Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
Lisa Zapata | Interim Vice Chancellor for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs