To members of the Schoolcraft community:
The events of the past few weeks have filled me with great sorrow over the senseless killing of George Floyd and of the terrible deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many other men, women and children. We have once again seen our country’s deep divide over race, justice and inequality come to light.
The leadership team at Schoolcraft has used this time to both step back in humility to listen and learn about the treatment of people of color in our country. We hear, see and acknowledge the pain and frustration with experiences in systemic racism and the indignities of indifference.
As members of the Schoolcraft College family, we should lean into these current events, build upon our actions to elevate the difficult, uncomfortable but important conversation – with actionable steps – regarding race, privilege, violence and conciliation in America. We need to broaden the conversations at Schoolcraft, but we will look to the wisdom of our minority brothers and sisters.
I understand that actions speak louder than words and would like to share a few items that we developed prior to recent events. Earlier this year, we formed a diversity, equity and inclusion task force that has curated town halls and organized training for students and staff on the topics of diversity and inclusion. We’ve become more attuned to cultural celebrations in the community, and we have made a concerted effort to reach out to a wider and more diverse public audience. We are also working closely with human resources to have staff who reflect our diverse student body, among other actions.
We are hearing from students who feel alone and want to talk. With our campus largely closed due to COVID-19, we are all missing the benefits of face-to-face interactions. I encourage you to take advantage of online opportunities to dialogue with your classmates and faculty. If you feel the need to speak with a student support specialist/counselor, call 734-462-4486. They can provide immediate and short-term assistance, as well as referrals for ongoing support and other related services. If you are aware of a fellow student who needs support, you can request that a Schoolcraft support specialist/counselor reach out to them. Use the online reporting tool SCaware to make this request.
There have been many eulogies and speeches made. These are, in my opinion, all first steps to healing. We still need real change, so we are doing everything in our power to see that Schoolcraft is in order. We never want to see anything happen here that even approximates the horrors we see on TV. All of the things that political figures are proposing, we have already done. We want you to feel safe and be safe. We are doing our best to support a positive, civil environment. The social context in which we all exist is changing and not always for the better. We, nonetheless, must continue our effort to make positive change. Social change is a process, not an event. We must work at it every day.
Conway A. Jeffress, Ph.D.