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Forester News

President Schutt shares campus initiatives to combat racism

President Stephen D. Schutt sent an email to all students, faculty, and staff on June 4 detailing the College’s initiatives to combat racism on campus.

Here is the complete text of that email:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We are now near the end of the second week following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Mr. Floyd’s death and the deaths of other victims of racist violence have appalled millions—including many in our campus community—who have protested in cities across the country and around the world. Last night a number of people from the College and I attended a moving protest in downtown Lake Forest.

Many of you are also rightly asking what more the College intends to do to combat racism and injustice, and to promote positive, permanent social change on our campus and in the world. Your questions, suggestions, and criticisms are legitimate and timely. I appreciate, in particular, the ideas that have come from Black faculty and staff with whom I’ve been in touch this week. In the midst of their deep pain, grief and outrage, these faculty and staff have still been willing to suggest ways for our community to improve, and I’m grateful.

I also appreciate new Student Government President Grace Verb’s inaugural message to our student body earlier today. Grace laid out an active agenda for Student Government in the weeks and months ahead, and she rightly called attention to a current student campaign named Foresters for Change that is raising funds for organizations working to end racism and police brutality. If you would like to contribute, there is a link in Grace’s email.

There will be much more to do this summer and fall, but I want to note the following campus actions that are already underway, or soon will be:

  • The Office of Intercultural Relations will announce by next week several summer programs to educate our campus community, connect activists together, and provide access to a number of anti-racist publications and resources from scholars and community leaders.
  • The Intercultural Advisory Group, the Office of Faculty Development, and Student Affairs are all at work on plans to provide and lead anti-racism initiatives throughout the coming year.
  • The Board of Trustees recently approved an important initiative to raise funds to recruit more faculty of color, and active fundraising will gain steam in the months ahead as coronavirus restrictions diminish.
  • The faculty’s new Diversity Commitment Statement, approved this spring, will help guide and inspire faculty recruitment, retention, and support.
  • The College will make sure that students, faculty, and staff have completed the previously approved diversity training modules this summer.

Our community depends on justice, fairness, and the human values expressed in the College’s Mission Statement. To combat the racism that betrays those values, we all have to work much harder. For now, I thank everyone for the support you’re giving each other and for your ongoing efforts to make a better world.

Stephen D. Schutt
Lake Forest College