There has been discussion and discourse in recent days — in Missouri and across the country — about a travel advisory issued by the NAACP. The conversation has generated a range of feelings among many, including members of the Washington University community.
Here, Chancellor Wrighton offers his perspective as the university prepares to welcome new and returning students to campus for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.
Message from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton:
Washington University has called St. Louis and Missouri home for over 163 years. This region is more than an address for our campuses. It is where our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends live, work and socialize. We are at our best when the region is at its best. And, while there is so much to be proud of, there also is work to do if we are going to move our region and state forward. I am especially concerned about addressing deep-seated challenges. Improving race relations and ending disparity and discrimination are goals we embrace and are working to achieve every day.
We all have to do our part, and at the university, we have stepped up our game. You can learn more about these efforts on our Diversity and Inclusion website. We are making strides in our admissions, faculty recruitment, enhancing diversity in our workforce and student body, community/regional engagement and new academic programming. We invite those who care about these issues to join our community and be part of sustaining the momentum.
The recently announced “travel advisory” underscores the importance of continuing to build a community that is diverse and inclusive. Progress in overcoming racism and discrimination is imperative, and the university — our students, faculty and staff — will sustain proactive efforts toward this objective.
Over the next few weeks, we will be beginning the new academic year. It is an exciting, high-energy time, full of promise and potential. To our university community — especially the students and family members who will be traveling to campus — know that we will do everything we can to make your experience here fulfilling, rewarding and enriching. And know that we remain committed to our community values of mutual respect, tolerance and inclusion.