June 3, 2020 We can all do our part to help prevent racial injustice
Dear WSU Tri-Cities campus community,
Last week, the nation once again witnessed the death of an African American man in police custody. This tragic event triggered worldwide demonstrations and protests as people came together to express their concern, their compassion, their sadness, and yes, their anger. George Floyd’s death was one of three alarming deaths over the past two weeks and countless others in our history. To comprehend the reaction to his death, we must remember the empathetic words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who, while committed to nonviolent tactics to addressing issues of inequity and injustice, understood the painful reality that, “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
We, at Washington State University Tri-Cities, are committed to doing our part to stand up for social justice by engaging in difficult discussions and participating in critical community efforts around equity and inclusion. Now, more than ever, we believe in the power of education and the advancement of knowledge to teach us critical awareness and appreciation for differences, to be thoughtful and compassionate human beings, to build inclusive communities, and to empower and challenge our students and each other to work toward the transformation of a better, more just and inclusive world.
At this time, we understand that our students, faculty and staff, like others throughout the world, are experiencing a complex array of emotions. As we all struggle to navigate our thoughts and feelings, we want you to know that we will continue to provide support and care for you and we will continue to create spaces to engage around topics of injustice, racism, and the pursuit of an equitable society.
We encourage WSU Tri-Cities students to utilize the campus resources available to them and to engage with university staff and their fellow students for support. The MOSIAC Center for Student Inclusion is open virtually while we work and study from home, but will also be readily available when we return to in-person operations. For more information, visit tricities.wsu.edu/mosaic-center.
We also encourage students to utilize our one-on-one telecounseling services that are available via a platform called ProtoCall through our WSU Spokane campus. Individuals staffed through this platform are well-versed in locally available resources in our regional community. To speak to a mental health provider available 24/7, call 509-554-5684. If you need immediate assistance or are in crisis, call the WSU Health Sciences Crisis line at 509-368-6500, which is also available 24/7.
As we have conversations with you, we are reminded of the hope that is born out of adversity. As educators and community leaders, it is our responsibility to move the bar forward for civic engagement and strategic action toward a more free and just society.
Sandra Haynes, Ph.D.
Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities