President Matt Wilson sent the following message to Missouri Western State University students, faculty and staff on June 2:
Dear Griffon Family:
Although I am traveling this week, I wanted to reach out to our campus community about the tragic deaths of George Floyd and countless others in recent months. Not only are we deeply saddened by recent evidence of racism and blatant disregard for human life, but these tragedies also go against so many things that our institution stands for. Racism, discrimination, and violence do not have any place in our society. We stand in support of our African-American students, along with all those others who have suffered injustice or prejudice. Without question, we must do better to eliminate prejudice of all kinds.
I hope that as an institution of higher learning, we can fix our energy and attention on the fundamental respect of every person regardless of color, creed, or cause. Together, we need to focus on and promote even greater respect, kindness, inclusion, belonging, and mutual respect. These values are essential elements of our foundation, core mission, and identity. As Missouri Western aspires to educate future and current leaders who can effectively impact a complex and often fractured world, it is essential that we provide an inclusive environment through dialogue, understanding, respect, trust, and action.
In these turbulent times, let’s also engage in education and self-reflection. Let’s ask how we can individually deploy our particular skills, knowledge, talents, and connections to make a positive difference while seeking to eliminate any unconscious biases that may impact our own personal judgment. We should work tirelessly to build bridges of understanding rather than creating walls of segregation. Together, let’s seek to fully embrace all individuals from varied backgrounds, experiences, abilities, perspectives, values, beliefs, cultures, races, and identities. We hope all Griffons will engage in respectful dialogue that will enable us to work together to learn, grow, innovate, and build a better future.