A message from President Tim Sands, Vice President Menah Pratt-Clarke, and Vice President Frank Shushok Jr.
April 21, 2021
To the Virginia Tech community,
Yesterday’s guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin represent a milestone and a respite from the nearly yearlong legal process that brought some measure of justice in the case of George Floyd’s senseless death. But our sense of relief is fleeting and countered by concerns over other tragic occurrences, including the death of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant just 20 minutes before the Chauvin verdict was announced and the recent deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo.
Our investment in the legacy of George Floyd must endure through our daily commitment to unravel the deep history and systems of racism in our society, including the role of educational institutions.
As we reflect on our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), we have a profound responsibility to serve the world through an educational environment that opposes racist ideology and behaviors and builds a community that affirms the inherent dignity and value of every person. We have the opportunity to send graduates into the world who are passionately committed to dismantling racism, hatred, and exclusionary practices that have brought about incalculable suffering and death of Black and African Americans, as well as other marginalized communities.
To our Black, African American, and other minority community members, we are deeply sorry for the pain you endure, and we stand with you now and in the days ahead.
To the steadfast and long-suffering allies, we will learn from your strong advocacy and support.
There are opportunities for every member of the university community to take action and support a more inclusive environment at Virginia Tech. Take time to watch the InclusiveVT Community Conversation Series “Making the Chair Fit” and "#VTUnfinished," hosted by Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity. The Black Cultural Center and Student Affairs will be convening opportunities for conversations on campus, and the university’s diversity directors will be asked to create spaces within their units for programs and conversations about intentional actions that can be taken around issues of race and justice. And we strongly encourage each of you to participate in our InclusiveVT Insights initiative, through which you can earn a digital badge affirming an inclusive climate and workplace.
Yesterday’s verdict is one small step on a long journey, and with the accountability and justice present in this moment, we will walk toward hope.
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity
Frank Shushok Jr.,
Vice President for Student Affairs
Those in the Virginia Tech community who need assistance or counseling support may contact:
- Better Together
- Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.
- Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787. Referral to a campus cleric may be made through this office.
- Employee Assistance Program
- Anthem at 855-223-9277
- Aetna at 888-238-6232
- Kaiser Permanente at 866-517-7042
- Optima Health Vantage HMO at 866-846-2682
- Hokie Wellness at 540-231-2233 (students) or 540-231-8878 (employees)
- Office of Housing and Residence Life at 540-231-6205
- Women’s Center at Virginia Tech at 540-231-7806