Fort Hays State University President, Dr. Tisa Mason and the Executive Leadership Team released the following message to students, faculty and staff on Monday:
Dear FHSU students and colleagues:
Our nation has once again been torn apart by the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, an African American citizen in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
We all find ourselves at a loss to comprehend it all. Institutionalized racism is simply the greatest blight on the history of this great country. It hasn’t gone away, and it continues to rob our fellow Americans of hope and fuels despair, resentment, and profound anger.
Why do we keep reliving incidents of racism, brutality, cruelty, violence, and massive destruction in a nation that has always had the values and resources to put a stop to it? In a country already struggling to deal with a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 of our fellow citizens, a disproportionate number of whom were people of color, this latest example of how deeply-rooted injustice is in our nation makes it reasonable to question whether the idea of “equal justice under the law” will ever truly include all of us.
As a university community, we can’t single-handedly fix all that is wrong in this country. We can’t repair all the damage done and lives ruined by centuries of racism. We can dedicate ourselves to changing every part of the world we reach.
Through our work as students and teachers, advisors and coaches, and counselors and support staff, we can create a safer, more equal, and more caring tomorrow. We believe we can do this because we are blessed to have dedicated, compassionate, and caring people serving at FHSU who are deeply committed to this noble work.
If you need someone to speak with as you work to navigate these troubling times, please reach out to the staff at the Kelly Center.
A personal message from Dr. Teresa Clounch, our Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, will follow this message in the coming days.
This university serves a global student population. Each of us has an opportunity to be a force for good and we should never discount the role we play in creating hope and opportunity in every state of this nation, and in countries all over the world. In closing, each of us on the Executive Leadership Team ask that you keep those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.
Tisa Mason, President
Jill Arensdorf, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Joseph Linn, Vice President for Student Affairs
Michael Barnett, Vice President for Administration and Finance
Jason Williby, President/CEO of the Fort Hays State University Foundation
Joseph Bain, General Counsel
Scott Cason, Chief Communications Officer