Charlottesville message

August 16, 2017

To the Vancouver Campus Community:

I am deeply troubled and heartbroken over the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, at the violence and hatred directed at our fellow human beings, and at the death, injuries and damage resulting from the incident.

As many of you know, it came to light that a WSU student from Pullman spoke at the rally in Charlottesville. Disturbing images from the other side of the country were suddenly very close to home. This has the potential to make members of our community feel more threatened by the events of the weekend. We have received some phone calls and other communication to that effect.

WSU has a strongly articulated set of values that proclaim the equality and dignity of all people. We denounce white supremacy and neo-Nazism. These ideologies are directly opposed to our core values. The people against whom violence and hatred were directed are people of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants and non-Christians. At WSU, we seek to build community among people of all races, sexual and gender identities, national origins and faiths. President Kirk Schulz sent a statement Monday about WSU’s unwavering commitment to these values.

At WSU Vancouver we have invested in the pursuit of social justice and equity, to working against white supremacy and toward racial equality. These pursuits are woven into the fabric of our mission, values and strategic plan, in which we have committed to supporting the success of all our students. We are passionately committed to creating a campus on which students, staff and faculty from all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel at home and learn without feeling threatened. The necessity of these efforts has never been clearer.

Today our faculty are back on campus, and on Monday we welcome our students back for the first day of classes. We will continue to engage in dialogues, and work to ensure that all students can learn in a safe and welcoming environment. By coming together we can work on creating a better future for learning, growing and discovering.

Mel Netzhammer
Washington State University Vancouver