The tragic events, which led to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd laid bare the systemic racism, discrimination and violence that black and brown people face. These acts have reinforced our resolve at Volunteer State Community College to examine and act against the multidimensional nature of racism in the United States. Like our society at large, higher education has its own history of exclusion and marginalization of minorities. We acknowledge that. It is our intention as a college to combat that lingering legacy and foster an environment where students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds can learn and work free from the dangerous and devastating effects of prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization. Racism in all its forms is, by its very nature, opposed to this commitment. Whether intentional or unintentional, individual or institutional, racism is harmful and dehumanizing and has adverse effects on our community. Racial injustice will not end until the views endemic to it are rejected categorically. Vol State’s foundation is rooted in the communities we serve. As educators and leaders, Volunteer State must be out front in opposition to policies, procedures, and environments that foster racism. Let us all refuse to accept or tolerate the unjust treatment of our neighbors. Let us challenge those who attempt to justify, dismiss, ignore, or explain away mistreatment of Black lives or any persons of color. Let us demand change. To be in a position of power and be silent on this matter would be a disservice to our community and our mission. To be in a position of power and not use our voice to condemn oppression is to be complicit in the oppression of others. We are accountable to the students and communities we serve and have a moral obligation to value life. As such we affirm our commitment to the following:
· We publicly affirm our identity as an anti-racist academic institution.
· We seek to eliminate racial injustices in our communities. We are committed to empower our students, faculty and staff toward this collective goal.
· We are resolved to continue working together to develop and implement strategies that dismantle racism in the life and culture of the college through our policies, programs and practices. We recognize that we will never be “finished” with work that strives toward racial justice. As our diversity statement reads, “Volunteer State Community College is committed to respecting the rights and understanding the points of view of all members of the community and considers diversity an integral part of both the social and intellectual climate, on and off campus.” We seek a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus that prepares its students to ethically engage with local and global communities and creates a context for exceptional teaching and learning. A commitment to diversity and inclusion enhances our ability to fulfill the mission of the college. Diversity and inclusion are essential to creating a community where those of all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and recognized for their contributions to our campus and community. Let it be said that Vol State Community College will be at the front, leading the way towards a more just and equitable society.