Dear Hokies,

The first step toward meaningful change is acknowledging “what is” and dreaming about “what could be.” Often, the unsettling reality is not pretty.

This week, screenshots from a Virginia Tech student group’s private chat were made public on social media and the Dean of Students has responded with an outline for a path forward. The content of the private messages was deeply antithetical to our values and — candidly — homophobic, racist, ableist, and misogynistic. We think it is important to say that avoiding this truth shields us from being reflective and making meaningful change in ourselves and in our circles of influence.

We have much work to do. We value free speech, and it is with that same freedom that we respond on behalf of a university relentlessly dedicated to inclusion.

Sadly, the harmful patterns of exclusion have not been eradicated at Virginia Tech, or in society as a whole. Virginia Tech is a place designed to disrupt this pattern.  We should ask ourselves, what is our endgame? Do we want the world to grow toward justice, to become more inclusive, to be more equitable? If so, Virginia Tech stands in solidarity with you and those yearning for an inclusive, humane, and just world.

Finally, students, harness your agency, raise your voices, get involved, and build the world you dream to see.

With hope,

Tim Sands,
President

Cyril Clarke,
Executive Vice President and Provost

Menah Pratt-Clarke,
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: