A message from President Abernathy to the campus community

To our campus community,

Like so many across the nation and around the world, I am angered and saddened by the wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. “Injustice anywhere,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “is a threat to justice everywhere,” and we have seen too much injustice in recent weeks. These shocking events brought feelings of pain, indignation and trauma to many in the Alma College community and across the nation.

To our black students, faculty, and staff — and to all from diverse backgrounds — I want you to know that we stand together as Alma College against all forms of injustice. We are only as strong as the most vulnerable in our community: Your concerns are our concerns.

At Alma College, we aim to provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all. While we have made great strides in this area, including our recent campus-wide work to update our statement on diversity and inclusion, much work remains. We must re-double our efforts in response to the tragic events we have witnessed.

Our strength as a college grows out of the varied identities, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of our campus community — a fact we recognized by forming the Diversity Task Force in 2011, which led to the establishment of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2013. Since that time, we have continued to support diversity initiatives across campus, such as the Campbell Scholars Program, Safe Zone and Fiesta Baile, among many others. Today, we are a more diverse and more welcoming community than we have ever been in our 134-year history.

Still, we know that we must do more to support students from diverse backgrounds who, too often, do not feel fully at home in our community. We must continue to work to create a climate where everyone feels safe and free to grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. This work will be a key component of the strategic plan the college is developing, as it has been a part of our most recent plans; we will continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority in the years to come.

As part of that effort, over the summer months I will work with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board to discuss the specific actions we will take in the next year to further develop the diversity and inclusion goals of the strategic plan. We will ask: What actions should we take to ensure that Alma College is leading by example in the fight against injustice? How can we cultivate a more welcoming environment on our campus?

We see in recent events the great divide between our ideals as a nation and our reality. Each of us can act to bridge that divide. I hope all of us will do what we can as Scots to stand against injustice and, thus, honor the core values that have always sustained us.

Jeff Abernathy


Story published on June 01, 2020