Dear College of Arts & Letters Community,
I write to you following the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd last May. While we anticipated that these proceedings and verdicts would prove emotionally draining for anyone following them, the disturbing evidence and wrenching testimony have had a heavy psychological toll on many of our Black students, colleagues, friends, and families. Against the backdrop of a deep reckoning with racial justice, increased anti-APIDA violence and misogynistic killings, and a pandemic that has magnified social injustice, I understand that some of you may be feeling as traumatized in the retelling of this terrible episode as you were when you first learned of it.
In leading the College of Arts & Letters during this difficult period, I have tried to be mindful of the ways my privilege as a white male leader in a predominately white institution and a racist society limits my understanding of the trauma experienced by our Black and African American colleagues and by other people of color in our community.
I encourage everyone to take the time to check in with family, friends, and colleagues in the Black community. Please seek the support you need and offer the same to fellow community members. As mentioned in President Stanley’s and Provost Woodruff’s statements from last night, the University is offering resources, including virtual spaces for processing and discussion. In addition, I want to mention the following resources that are available.
Resources for Students
Counseling and Trauma Appointments
For those experiencing trauma or who need mental health support, Dr. Jonathan Ritz, a licensed counselor and Director of Student Wellness, is available for all undergraduate College of Arts & Letters students. Students may schedule a consultation or a counseling appointment by visiting cal.msu.edu/director-of-student-wellness.
Resources for Faculty and Staff
Spring Conference on Teaching, Learning, and Student Success May 4-7
The Academic Advancement Network (AAN) will be hosting a conference of MSU educators that showcases innovative teaching ideas that enhance the experiences of students, faculty, and staff including imagining and creating anti-racist approaches to learning and teaching led by our Associate Dean for Academic Personnel and Administration, Sonja Fritzsche. To learn more or to register, please visit aan.msu.edu/teaching-learning/spring-conference-on-teaching-learning-and-student-success.
The hard work towards systematic and transformative change for justice remains ahead of us. Across the College, many students, faculty, and staff are doing this difficult and necessary work of learning more about systemic racism and the history of racial violence, integrating the study of these issues into our curriculum, identifying actions we can take on-campus, and working to improve what happens at MSU and in the broader community through intentional action.
Your voices are critical to ensure that we stand together against anti-Black racism and violence. Over the weeks and months to come, my hope is that we will continue to work together to focus our efforts on action.
Please be well, stay safe, and take care.
Christopher P. Long
Dean, College of Arts & Letters