West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators (WVASPA) Statement on George Floyd, Systemic Racism, and Anti-Racism.
Our nation is currently grappling with the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. In the latest act of violence towards an unarmed African American, this and many other communities are facing a number of emotions – grief, rage, sadness, fear, and unrest. Our organization is committed to deepening our support for African American students and all minority, underrepresented student populations in our institutions of higher education across the state. Our students demand a safe and nondiscriminatory space to learn with the promise of anti-racism policies and cultures. According to the Anti-racism Digital Library, "Anti-racism can be defined as some form of focused and sustained action, which includes inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi- lingual and inter-abled (i.e. differently abled) communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has racist effects." Student affairs professionals across West Virginia are called to reject neutrality on issues of race. We have the power to influence institutional culture and this requires steadfast dedication in calling out racism or institutionalized discrimination immediately. As an organization, WVASPA is committed to providing resources and training to institutions who seek to make a change on their campuses. Racial justice in our colleges and universities will be a core part of our mission moving forward. Our parent organization NASPA notes: “Racialized violence in this country has deep, deep roots, and digging out requires a combination of strategies: organizing, protest, electoral engagement, accountability for those who commit violence, legislative and policy changes, and more. There are no easy answers or fixes. This work must not fall solely on the shoulders of people of color. White people must join as allies in condemning racial violence and as committed partners in action and organizing.” WVASPA asks that student affairs professionals commit to concrete steps they will take to eliminate systemic racism at their institutions. As a board, we are committed to: 1. Speaking out against racist acts, language, policies, or media. 2. Working to educate our students on the history of racism in America. 3. Educating our students on the many contributions that African Americans and other minorities have had on our society. 4. Providing programs and experiences that support the growth and awareness of our diverse student populations in the state of West Virginia. https://sites.google.com/site/antiracismdigitallibrary/