Our Collective Responsibility


The national response to the most recent incidents of racial injustice has been displayed in public and private conversations in profound ways. Last week at KSU, we hosted a series of opportunities for students, faculty and staff to come together to express their thoughts on this national outcry about racism in our country. I am grateful to the hundreds of members from the KSU community who participated in these listening sessions. I also want to acknowledge the many people who have reached out over the last week to ask with sincerity, "What can I do?"

We are fortunate at KSU. Fortunate that we have a community of students, faculty and staff who come from a broad array of backgrounds and perspectives. Fortunate that this diversity can serve to our advantage as we seek to ambitiously address the racial challenges and opportunities for change that are present in a large institution such as ours. 

On May 31, I wrote the following on behalf of the university as citizens around Georgia and the nation gathered to demand equality and justice:

Many in the KSU family and across America are justifiably angry and hurt by the most recent events unfolding in Georgia, Minnesota and beyond. I know that I am not alone at my university in stating unequivocally that there is no room for the existence of or the tolerance for any form of racism. Let us move forward together with a sincere commitment to a constructive dialogue where we listen respectfully with a goal toward real change. Let us move forward with compassion as we recognize that we are collectively responsible for pursuing real change.

Now it is time at KSU to pursue the sentiment from the above statement, namely that we move forward with a recognition "that we are collectively responsible for pursuing meaningful change."

We have made a concerted effort over the past two years to assess our infrastructure and efforts related to diversity and inclusion at KSU. Recent events are a stark reminder that we must do more. As such, the Provost and I have asked our Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler, to create and chair a task force that will meet over the next weeks and months to develop ideas that will enable a constructive dialogue and subsequent action on meaningful change for our KSU community and beyond. I am thankful for Dr. Carey-Butler's leadership and will ask that she provide the campus community with an update on the outcomes from her committee’s work.

Again, we are fortunate at KSU. Fortunate that we can act together, and work to address the needs and concerns of all of our students, faculty and staff.

Pamela Whitten


Written By Whitten