On Saturday, May 30, 2020, Wooster President Sarah R. Bolton emailed the following statement calling on the campus community to unite in the face of profound inequities brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis and persistent patterns of racism and lethal violence against Black people and others from marginalized communities:
Dear Members of the College of Wooster Community,
I write to you at an extraordinarily difficult time, when so many are suffering tremendous loss and trauma. While the Wooster community is scattered, there is much we can do together to address challenges we face.
We are in the midst of a global public health crisis which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, and altered daily life for all of us in significant ways.
The effects of COVID-19 are far reaching, but this crisis is not felt equally among individuals and communities. Health outcomes differ profoundly based on neighborhood, race, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and employment. And, in the United States, the historical and present manifestations of racism, redlining, and discrimination mean that low income communities and communities of color are bearing a disproportionate burden in economic struggle, illness and death.
The public health crisis of COVID-19 coincides with other persistent, relentless threats to communities of color. These threats include the patterns of racism that are enacted in appallingly frequent, lethal violence against Black people and others from marginalized communities.
This is unacceptable. The pandemic cannot cause us to lose sight of these profound inequities; it should redouble our commitment to eradicate them.
Voices are raised this week across the country to call out these injustices, and to call for action toward a better future. The charge of our college – to prepare young people to be leaders of character and influence, who hold an honest perspective on our current circumstances and the hope, skills and commitment to move us forward- have never been more important.
In this moment, many ask what they can do to help create a more just world. Each person needs to answer that for themselves, but here are my thoughts for our community. The College of Wooster stands against racism in all of its forms, and we will work together to redress it. Our community will stand up for those who are harmed, listen to those who are targeted, learn about and engage in anti-racist work, and act together to create safer and more equitable communities. This is urgent work that must happen everywhere – including at our college. Even though we are separate, we can begin it now.
We can gather – even from a distance – to mourn, to support one another, and to envision, plan and act for the more just future we so urgently need. As a starting place, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion will host a Virtual Community Care Gathering on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 7 pm Eastern Time, online. All students, staff, faculty and alumni of the College of Wooster are invited and welcome. If you would like to participate, please email email@example.com.
The challenges and traumas of this time affect each person in different ways. If you would like to talk with someone for support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff of CDI, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Ivonne M. García firstname.lastname@example.org, Dean for Faculty Development Christa Craven, email@example.com, or Dean of Students Scott Brown firstname.lastname@example.org.
My deepest thanks to all the Wooster students, staff, faculty and alumni whose hard work advances equity and justice, both here on our campus and around the world. We will move forward, together.