Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Building Community
October 6, 2017
During the past few weeks, we have witnessed multiple devastating natural disasters and the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those impacted by recent events, especially members of our college community who have ties to tragic loss of life and property. This week, we sent to SUNY Administration our statement of absolute support for a proposal, which SUNY Trustees authorized today, to provide in-state tuition to Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islands students displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. As the most diverse institution in the SUNY system with students from many different areas, Westchester Community College is a place where people come together and address these and other national and global issues in a supportive and inclusive environment.
“Identity Evropa” posters have been appearing at the Valhalla campus. The posters are associated with a group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white supremacist hate group. This group has been targeting college campuses nationwide for recruitment. The posters are in violation of college policy and have been removed. Our Security Department is investigating this issue and is remaining diligent in monitoring the campus for related activity.
We are continuing to take specific actions to offer a safe and welcoming learning environment, including the following:
- Enforcing a zero tolerance policy for hate groups and violence
- Embarking upon a process to affirm a college wide values statement
- Hiring a chief diversity officer and dedicating additional resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to elevate college wide cultural competences
- Providing relevant training for employees
- Providing a range of assistance, including grief counseling, for students and employees in need of additional support
- Revising college policy on facilities rentals prohibiting guests from using college spaces for events that could lead to civil disorder
Thank you for your contributions to a strong, open, and committed community of learners.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles