Dear Students and Recent Graduates,
We have often referred to our college atmosphere as a family. A family comes together in times of challenge, holds each other accountable, builds each other up, and provides a safe home for its members. We want you to know your College of Agriculture family is here and listening. As we uphold LSU’s mission, we will continue to be “dedicated to creating an inclusive and respectful environment that embraces individual differences in race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, spirituality, socioeconomic status, disability, family status, experiences, opinions, and ideas.”
The recent murders and acts of violence against the Black community in our country is unacceptable. What has been brought to light in the recent events represents years of oppression of the Black community, and it is not enough to passively oppose racist acts of violence or speech. As we think about our role within the lives of our students, we want our College of Agriculture family to know, we stand with you as you struggle to cope personally and fight for equity within society.
The staff members in the College of Agriculture Dean’s Office are committed to addressing racism and advocating for the students we serve. We know we have much work to do, and there is much more to this work than issuing a statement. We must be proactive and challenge ourselves to think about the community we create.
As cultural inclusion is a priority in the mission of LSU, we want to share with you some action steps we are taking as a staff and resources to use. We invite you to offer feedback and suggestions of how we can do more.
We want you as students to feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts and feedback with our staff. Our doors are always open, even if that is in a virtual capacity via our Zoom rooms. Please reach out and share your voice so we can advocate for you. While we serve in an academic capacity, we have the ability to connect you with a support system that can assist with mental health counseling, group therapy, and general student advocacy. The College of Agriculture Dean’s Office staff is here for you.
As we reflect, we need to continue to listen carefully. We know these small steps are just a start to where we need to make committed efforts for change. The meaning of family in the college becomes void if we are not listening to, learning from, and making our home a safe place for all. We must acknowledge racial injustice and advocate for our students of color. We are here. We are listening, and we plan to stay in the conservation with you as long as it takes to get this right.
William B. Richardson