A message to the campus community


Dear Campus Community,

It is with heavy hearts and a deep sense of gravity that we share this message with you. The recent tragedies are profound examples of what is truly broken, and has been broken for generations, in our society. The events of which we write are the most recent examples of what has been obvious for decades. The horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and Dion Johnson are, or should be, dismaying to anyone who believes we live in a civil society. Police being weaponized against our Black communities and the protests for change in our society have again highlighted the extreme pain and injustice that persist and so significantly impact the world we live in today.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is an institution that values diversity, equity and inclusion. Hate is NOT a UW-Platteville value. We acknowledge that systemic racism is real, harmful, and must be addressed with urgency by all aspects of our society. We need to be active in dismantling inequity in our own community. We understand we have significant progress to obtain as a community before all our campus community members feel equitable respect and access to our educational mission.

We share our thoughts today knowing that a statement to underscore the contempt we have for injustice, oppression, bigotry, and hate is not adequate. There must be action by each of us. We must act to reaffirm our belief and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. These tenets mean little if we do not make them a part of our daily lives.

So, in addition to denouncing hate and affirming our institutional values of inclusion, we want to provide opportunities to assist our campus community in being active in allyship, support, care, and education towards the betterment of our community. We firmly believe we are catalysts in creating future leaders of our society through executing our educational mission. To that end, we commit to ensuring our future leaders recognize, value, and reach out to make positive change where it is needed. We also recognize that needs to start with each one of us.

Some possibilities moving forward,

To our community members of Color, we acknowledge your unique experiences living in our predominately White rural community. We value your contributions to our collective community and acknowledge the exhaustion, fear, and pain events such as this past week exacerbate. We also acknowledge that you experience microaggressions, bigotry, and hate in your day to day lives associated with our campus. Our Office of Multicultural Student Affairs is providing outreach and support to our Students of Color and pulling in various campus allies along the development of that outreach. For our Faculty and Staff of Color, we appreciate it can sometimes be a challenge finding community who have similar experiences in our environment and want to invite you to share your interest in engaging in a space for healing, support, and care. If you have interest in this, please email Assistant Chancellor Miller, millerang@uwplatt.edu

To our community members who feel shock, disbelief, or who are left feeling helpless and unsure how to make an impact, we want to offer opportunities to learn more. We will provide opportunities to dig into doing the self-work of understanding one’s own privilege along with developing and building skills to becoming a successful ally. We acknowledge that it is each individual’s responsibility to learn about their identity, influence, impact, and access without taxing diverse colleagues and peers for their education. Our Campus Climate department will host White Accountability Dialogues open for our campus community to unpack white privilege, provide ally skill development, and more. To sign up for engagement in this resource, please email campusclimate@uwplatt.edu

To our entire campus community, we believe in the transformative power of education. We know that each of us with our varied beliefs, backgrounds, and knowledge are the most significant tools we have in creating shared experiences that allow us to challenge, share, and grow in our understandings. Our Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Chancellor Miller, along with various Faculty, Campus Climate Staff, and OMSA Staff, will be hosting Intergroup Dialogues to engage in conversations relevant to current events with the hopes of exchanging thoughts, perspectives, and inquiries to hold space for growing and expanding our understandings of each other and our capacity to impact our own communities. To sign up for Intergroup Dialogues, please email your contact info to diversityandinclusion@uwplatt.edu

As far as forward movement, please note, we value and are open to all additional ideas and thoughts on ways you would like to further education and community on our campus. Please feel welcomed to send Assistant Chancellor Miller, millerang@uwplatt.edu, ideas you have that you feel could positively impact our campus climate.

Inevitably, when we send messages such as this, we hear from campus community members who question whether messages of this nature are warranted and applicable to our campus community. It is true that we have amazing caring colleagues and peers who go above and beyond in creating an exceptional learning environment, it is also true that bias and hate exists here. It is necessary for us to all understand that these truths exist at the same time. Unless we acknowledge this full picture of how our institution is experienced by ALL members of our campus community, we will fall short in our educational mission and shared humanity. We ask you to review a quick video; created by Campus Climate, of our University Bias Incident Team’s recent data to be better informed on the bias reports we received this year. You can find this video here: https://tinyurl.com/yaduach4

Hate is not a UW-Platteville value. Let’s collectively be engaged in showing this is true. We have intentionally come together in crafting and signing this message across the leadership of our campus to showcase our firm belief of how critical this work is and how it is up to all of us to be active in making positive change.

In Community,

Dennis J Shields, Chancellor

Angela M Miller, Chief of Staff, Assistant Chancellor of Diversity & Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

Joanne Wilson, Retiring Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Tammy Evetovich, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Angela Udelhofen, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Student Success

Paige Smith, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

Rose Smyrski, Vice Chancellor for University Relations

Melissa Gormley, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Wayne Weber, Dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Sciences and Agriculture

Molly Gribb, Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science

Kory Wein, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education

Susan Hansen, Interim Dean of the Division of Professional Studies

Kristina Navarro, Assistant Chancellor, Director of Athletics and Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance

Michael E Compton, Assistant Provost, Academic Affairs, Branch Campus Operations

Paul Erickson, Public Information Officer