To the Virginia Tech community:

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter to all colleges and universities across the nation regarding concerns of discrimination and bias related to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus. The letter cites an increase in the number of reports regarding stereotyping, harassment, and bullying directed towards students and faculty perceived to be of Chinese-American or, more generally, Asian descent.

Amid growing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 infections across the world and the United States, it is important for us to pause for a moment and consider how our thoughts, our words, and our actions influence others in our community who are equally affected by this global health crisis.

Virginia Tech thrives on being a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive campus for all. We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding. We value human diversity because it enriches our lives and the university. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.

Our commitment to these values is embodied in our Principles of Community. In this time of crisis, it is essential that we lift up our commitment to these values.

When we return from spring break, Virginia Tech will celebrate Principles of Community Week from March 16-20. In addition, on March 30, Virginia Tech’s Asian Cultural Engagement Center will host an event, “Mask On/Mask Off Series: APIDAs, The Yellow Peril, and the Coronavirus” to raise awareness around the virus, address perceptions toward students, faculty, and staff of Asian and Asian-American descent, and affirm the university’s commitment to the Principles of Community. When details on this event are available, they will be shared via Virginia Tech News. All are encouraged to attend.

As a reminder, should members of Virginia Tech community experience discrimination or bias, one should immediately contact The Dean of Students Office where you can report an incident to the Title IX Office.

As COVID-19 spreads, Virginia Tech continues to carefully monitor the health of its community of students, faculty, and staff at home and abroad. All members of our community should follow precautions aimed at protecting an individual’s health and preventing the spread of this illness set forth from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia Tech’s Schiffert Health Center. Additional information is on Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 website, where relevant information will be updated periodically in accordance with any new developments or risk assessments.

We are grateful for our Virginia Tech community and our collective commitment to building a world where all of humanity is treated with dignity and respect.

Menah Pratt-Clarke,
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity

Frank  Shushok,
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs