Remembering, Listening, Recommitting: Georgia College’s Response to Recent Events

Remembering, Listening, Recommitting: Georgia College’s Response to Recent Events

Dear Members of the Georgia College Community,

On May 31, President Dorman joined college presidents all over the country in speaking out against the racial violence that had resulted most recently in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.  These deaths were, regrettably, part of a long and insidious history of racial violence that Blacks have endured a result of deadly policing practices and lawless vigilantism fueled by systemic racism.  These latest actions, specifically the death of George Floyd, brought the people of this nation to a breaking point, and the resulting protests worldwide have shown decidedly that something must change.

Over the last two weeks, I have been in discussions with key members of the Georgia College community—faculty, staff, and students—regarding what should be the next steps that we take in our own college community as we respond to this current crisis in our nation. Together, we have accumulated an initial list of actions and decided on an overarching framework for how we can move forward.

The first thing that we would like to do is remember the lives lost as a result of racial violence.  Since we cannot come together right now as a large group on our campus, and because school is not in regular session, we have created a video tribute to those died, acknowledging our condolences and calling the names.  We invite you to view our tribute to those individuals.   We have also set up a gcremembers@gcsu.edu email address for those who want to send remembrances and reflections. 

We then want to listen to our community members to give them an opportunity to express what they are feeling about these specific incidents and how acts of racial discrimination affect them at Georgia College—as recipients, as observers, and as allies. I have scheduled a series of all campus Zoom listening sessions for students, staff, and faculty, and I encourage you to sign in to those sessions and share your thoughts, concerns, recommendations for how we can more effectively address racial bias and achieve social justice on our campus.  

And, finally, we want to recommit ourselves to racial and social justice by developing a plan for taking concrete actions to enhance our efforts to make our community a welcoming, just, and respectful place to study and work, a place free from the bias and discrimination. I invite the entire Georgia College community to share your thoughts and ideas during the listening sessions on specific actions that we can take.

Remembering

1. Video Tribute to those who have died as a result of racial violence — Posted on Front Page, Tuesday, June 16 and available to view here.

2. Statements of empathy and support posted by individual GC offices on their websites to reach out to students, faculty, and staff who are grieving.

3. gcremembers@gcsu.edu  email address to express your thoughts in writing about those who have lost their lives and your own personal sense of grief and loss.

Listening

CDO Listening Sessions for students, staff, and faculty to discuss recent events make suggestions for actions we can take as a university community to move forward.  A Zoom link will be sent via GC email to students, staff, and faculty to attend these sessions. 

1. Zoom Listening Sessions for Students                   

Thursday, June 18:  Noon - 1:30 p.m. and 6 - 7:30 p.m.

2. Zoom Listening Sessions for Staff 

Friday, June 19:   Noon - 1:30 p.m. and 6 - 7:30 p.m.

3. Zoom Listening Session for Faculty

Monday, June 22:   Noon - 1:30 p.m. and 6 - 7:30 p.m.

4. Zoom Listening Sessions by several units/departments on campus who have specific student, faculty or staff constituencies. Look for specific invitations from these other units.

5. Outreach from Counseling Center:  Telephone and online sessions for students who might be having difficulty dealing with both the pandemic and the racial strife going on now in the country. You may also reach out to the Counseling Center directly: www.gcsu.edu/counseling or 478-445-5331.

6. GCListens@gcsu.edu:  If you cannot or prefer not to attend listening sessions online, please send questions, comments, thoughts about recent events and/or suggestions for moving forward to this email address.

Recommitting

The Office of Inclusive Excellence will lead the way to establish and implement a concrete set of actions. The immediate discussions that we will begin to have this summer will also be incorporated as appropriate into our 2020 Diversity Action Plan. Some of the early actions we can take now are listed below.  This is just the beginning. During the listening sessions, we will invite each group to suggest other actions that we can add to the list of concrete actions we would like to implement at Georgia College.

  1. Work with GC Public Safety to begin workshops for students, staff and faculty to review policing protocols for the Georgia College community.
  2. Establish extended workshops for incoming students on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice during Week of Welcome.
  3. Hold training workshops and discussion sessions for students, staff, faculty, and administration on new and reimagined ways to confront our own racial biases and to continue our efforts to achieve social justice and a campus climate free of prejudice and discrimination.
  4. Offer Year-Long, Free, Online GC/Milledgeville Community Seminar—open to students, staff, alumni, and community, on Understanding Race—Promoting Justice.  Ten weekly online sessions each semester facilitated by the Chief Diversity Officer that would include guest speakers on specific topics addressing race relations history and social justice.  
  5. Complete a public art piece or a curated art exhibit focused on social justice.
  6. Provide ongoing, real-time lists of resources on the OIE website for students, staff, and faculty to learn more about the history of the current issues we are facing. 

 

Please join us in this effort to remember, listen, and recommit ourselves to do the work of building and sustaining a respectful and inclusive community here at Georgia College.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Denard

Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence

Chief Diversity Officer

Updated: 2020-06-16
Carolyn Denard
carolyn.denard@gcsu.edu
478-445-8625
Inclusive Excellence, Office of