These are turbulent, and for many of us, painful times. I wish I had the eloquence to accurately capture the swirl of emotions that we feel as members of this nation, state, community and campus, but I don’t. Within only a few months, we’ve experienced a pandemic, economic collapse and social turmoil. Any one of those would be a major national event, but we’ve experienced them nearly simultaneously. It’s hard to adjust to a new normal when so much happens, so fast.
With this email, I want to recognize the protests that are occurring throughout the country and our state, including Fargo. These protests resulted from the horrific death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. My heart goes out to Mr. Floyd’s family.
As I mentioned above, I don’t have the words to reflect the magnitude of all these events. Instead, reflecting my disposition as a pragmatist, I want to concentrate on NDSU. Simply put, our students and colleagues of color are valued members of the NDSU community and need to feel supported.
I am also keenly aware that these protests started as a result of a police action, and NDSU has its own police force. Please know that I have full confidence in the NDSU police. Nevertheless, earlier this week, I asked our police force to ensure that each of our officers receive additional training, beyond what they already do, specifically on racial issues and policing prior to the start of the fall semester. In addition, I’ve asked that our police chief reach out to leaders of minority student organizations to hear about their experiences on our campus.
In addition, I am asking campus leaders to each do their part to learn, listen and provide opportunities for engagement around issues of race and inclusivity.
Finally, please remember that, while policy often prevents NDSU from taking positions on political matters, employees and students are permitted to be politically engaged as individuals. I would refer you to NDUS Policy 308.3 and NDSU Policy 160. I am neither encouraging nor discouraging you from participating in any civic engagement or political expression. I am simply reminding you that policy permits you, as an individual, to be engaged in public matters.
Dean L. Bresciani