By Jon Bauer, Ph.D., President, East Central College
The recent events that have transpired following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and most recently George Floyd have made clear our country remains deeply divided and has a long way to go in its pursuit of social justice.
We in the St. Louis region know far too well the depth and intransigence of this racial divide, and as we see violence thwart dialogue and progress, we are left wondering whether any progress has been made. Our campus has been the site of a peaceful vigil, and our community has been the location for protests against bigotry and hate. To date, these demonstrations have remained peaceful.
East Central College remains strongly committed to social justice. Diversity is an institutional value we hold with passion and intentionality. We recognize that we cannot be silent when this value is threatened, whether that happens on our campus, in our community, or in our country.
We take seriously our mission of enriching our community through education. Community colleges such as East Central College serve a wide range of students with open access to the benefits of higher education. Accordingly, we embrace the privilege of serving underrepresented students from all walks of life. We recognize the vitality of a diverse campus and the enriching experience that provides for all students. And we recognize the unique and deeply rooted barriers caused by racial injustice and intolerance.
As a leader in our region, we understand the responsibility to show by example and speak with a strong voice when it comes to our commitment to equality and inclusion.
Moreover, as our vision calls for East Central College to be a leader in higher education, we support without reservation the opportunity to be heard and the imperative to work for change.
Loss of life is wrong. Abuse of power is wrong. Injustice is wrong. Violence is wrong.
The deep fissures in our culture can be filled in part with a commitment to understanding each other, hearing each other, supporting each other, and standing for each other. That is the work of a rich and vibrant college.
East Central College is committed to leading in this effort and to living out the values we hold dear. We are committed to education in place of bigotry, intentional action in place of violence, and opportunity in place of injustice.