When we begin the new school year, we typically focus on areas of celebration: our continued growth in enrollment of first-time students, the completion of several major campus construction projects that will improve the student experience, recognition for our first generation initiatives and efforts and continued growth in our number of diverse students, faculty and staff.
However, we realize recent events, such as the travel advisory issued by the NAACP and the violence at the University of Virginia (UVA) may have caused some members of our campus community concern about their anticipated experiences at Missouri State and in our community.
We are deeply saddened and dismayed by the events that occurred at UVA, yet we support the peaceful exercise of free speech, expression and assembly. However, violence is not protected and cannot be condoned. We strongly condemn the racism, bigotry and intolerance shown by white supremacy organizations in Charlottesville. Missouri State University will always stand against such hate and violence while continuing to champion the promise of America for all.
Inclusion is one of our core values at Missouri State University, and we seek to lead Springfield and the state in our commitment to inclusivity. We have over 3,000 underrepresented students and approximately 1,700 international students. We are committed to providing an environment in which all can thrive educationally and professionally.
Diversity and inclusion is an important value for our university and it serves as a critical component of our vision for Missouri State. Inclusive excellence is woven into the three pillars of our public affairs mission. Diversity is also one of the university’s focus areas for its annual action plans and one of our six priorities in our 5-year Long Range Plan.
Missouri State University will continue to collaborate with partners from every sector to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our domestic and international university stakeholders, especially our students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and community members.
We recognize that significant challenges face our world, nation, state, and local communities. Despite these challenges, we will continue our efforts to educate students to be global citizen scholars committed to ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement. I hope you will join me in continuing to make Missouri State a place where all feel welcome.