Dear Rhodes Community,
Today was a day of action, learning, and reflection, but we must sustain our commitment beyond today.
We are each called to do the work of justice in the wider world. We are called to do that work here at Rhodes as well.
We are committed to creating a culture of belonging at Rhodes––one where every student stands at its center. We know we are not yet there and that it will take systemic change.
As I listened to Black students today, I heard about the implicit and explicit bias they face on our campus. Students shared stories about campus racial profiling and racist comments. They expressed an urgent campus need for anti-bias training for faculty and staff. They asked for opportunities for their fellow students to learn about practicing allyship in the fight for justice and equity, and for curricular expansion in the areas of race and racism. They talked about the need for social space for NPHC Greek organizations. And they recognized the need for better support for the Black faculty and staff who serve as mentors, teachers, and role models. I am grateful to those who took the time and energy to share their experiences and ideas with me.
None of these goals is out of reach for Rhodes. Together they form an agenda for meaningful action. Dr. Sherry Turner has already begun to sketch that agenda based on this and other feedback we have received from members of our campus community. Dr. Turner and our senior leadership team are ready to work with students, alumni, faculty, and staff to flesh this agenda out and move forward. I will keep our community apprised of our progress.
As the sun sets tonight, I will light our weekly Shabbat candles. I will pray for Sabbath peace to cover everyone in our Rhodes community, especially those who have given energy and spirit to the cause of justice today and in the past weeks.