June 6, 2020

To our WOU community, 

The Social Science division is heartbroken by recent events and wish to reaffirm our strong belief that Black Lives Matter. The names George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and Sean Reed, to name a few, have become familiar to us all in the past few weeks, but there are countless others who have lost their lives as the result of the structural injustices and racism of our society. As a division, we are dedicated to studying the injustices of the past and present, and their implications in our lives today. As faculty, we continue to learn from our students and our colleagues across campus. We want you to know that we hear you, we see you, and we support you.

As we move forward, our faculty are committed to taking action in our classrooms, our campus, and our community to support antiracism and oppose white supremacy. Our support for these initiatives reflects not only our concern for the deep-seated injustices of the past and present, but also our recognition of how our lives and communities are greatly enriched by the energy and creativity fostered by a diverse, welcoming, and safe community.

We acknowledge and support the recent statement by Joe Hahn and the WOU BSU and in response to their suggestions we have comprised the following list of actions:

-We support the call for a dedicated space on campus for the Black Student Union.

-We acknowledge the role that white supremacy played in the creation of our state, and the role that white supremacy continues to play in the daily lives of our black students.

-We recognize that the multiple challenges from facing police violence and the effects of COVID-19 may make school difficult to prioritize right now, particularly for many of our black students. As we wrap up the term, Social Science faculty are committed to flexibility for final assignments/final exams and assignment of grades.

-We will ensure that our Social Science Symposium incorporates more BIPOC speakers to give marginalized voices a space to speak on our campus.

-The Social Science faculty commits itself to reaching out to and working with the BSU on improving WOU, Monmouth and Oregon as places for black students, starting with co-sponsoring campus events, including speakers, film screenings, and panel discussions that feature and center black people and their experiences. We acknowledge that we have contributed to the marginalization of black students on campus by not making these kinds of efforts sooner.

We support the continuing analysis of two recent campus climate surveys by Western Oregon University’s Center on Evaluation, Technology, and Research, and support their recommendation for mandatory, in-person diversity training for faculty and staff. We as a division will work through faculty and shared governance and individual advocacy to ensure that the administration follows these recommendations.

-We will work with administration to ensure that all campus security have undergone diversity training and are committed to using non-violence towards our student population.

In Solidarity, 

Social Science Faculty