June 10, 2020

 

Dear HTC students and employees,

 

Now that the dust is settling and with respect to the journey of George Floyd’s life and family, we would like to express our heartbreak over the death of Mr. Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police Department officers who swore to protect and serve. As a community, we know these past few weeks have been exhausting, both emotionally and physically, as we continue to process a wide range of responses from anger, fear, and despair while grappling with the hard reality that a black man’s life was unnecessarily taken in an inhumane way. Through protests both locally and globally, Mr. Floyd’s death amplifies the long history of our nation’s issues regarding race, discrimination, and inequities of law towards Blacks as American citizens.

 

To our Black/African American students and employees, we want you to know that HTC has the cultural competence to recognize that this effects the black community uniquely different. Our college also empathizes with all effected communities. We care, support, and offer resources to you on campus and in our community.

 

To all HTC students and employees, we want to reaffirm the college’s equity and inclusion commitment, “We will intentionally remove barriers and develop strategies for the success of individuals from historically underrepresented populations.” As an institution of higher learning, we will continue to work even harder to eliminate racial disparities at HTC for student success, student and employee diversity, and in providing a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. Our college-wide equity and inclusion goals include:

 

  1. Provide an accessible, inclusive, and safe campus environment,
  2. Integrate HTC Learner Value Cultural & Global Awareness into academic courses and co-curricular activities,
  3. Increase retention of protected class group employees, and
  4. Increase engagement with community partners.

 

As part of our work together to eliminate racial disparities at HTC, we invite you to view the 90-minute recorded version of the webinar, “I am George Floyd: Reflections and Strategies for Anti-Racism across Minnesota State,” hosted by the Indigenous Men and Men of Color (IMMOC) Workgroup. To provide campus dialogue around the death of George Floyd, HTC will be offering facilitated listening sessions for students and employees to share how recent events have effected them. Please note: your Star ID and password are required to access the recording, and details for the listening sessions will be sent in separate emails. 

 

We are humbled to have been approached by Dr. Vicki P. Karolewics, President of Wallace State Community College (WSCC), located in Hanceville, Alabama, to have been gifted a message of healing, outreach, and care, as well as a song in honor of George Floyd’s life created by WSCC alumni Brad Steele. As George Floyd’s death has deeply impacted all regions of our country, WSCC has chosen to partner with HTC, our students, and employees, to create a joint effort for continued dialogue around George Floyd and his life as this time calls for reflection and needed change. In appreciation, HTC is working on our video response to show our gratitude to WSCC. Our video will be shared with the campus when completed.

 

Finally, to our HTC community, we must continue to stand together to make HTC the best that it can be to hold true to our inclusion value statement that, “We value an atmosphere of respect, dignity, and acceptance.” 

 

In solidarity,

          
Merrill Irving, Jr., Ed.D. President            Jean Maierhofer, M.Ed. Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion