Message sent by EWU President Shari McMahan to campus on Friday, April 21
Dear campus community,
Racism and discrimination are not tolerated at Eastern Washington University. We stand with our students, especially our Black Student Union members who were recently targeted by the anti-Black and Brown graffiti at the dance studio. Myself and all campus leadership will continue to support and provide resources to those who’ve been the targets of discrimination.
In response to the incident of anti-Black and Brown racist graffiti, as well as our on-going commitment to improving the campus culture, EWU leadership is examining our current reporting policies, communication processes, and accountability measures. In conjunction with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we are also meeting with students of the BSU to determine additional areas that may need to be addressed.
A “Report Incidents” button has been placed on the university homepage to report hate speech, bias-related acts, or instances of discrimination and racism. All reports are taken seriously and investigated to the fullest extent of university policy and the law. In addition to investigations, we will continue to evaluate our responses, policies, and supportive actions to ensure we provide the safest, most accountable and inclusive experience on campus for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.
One of the reasons I came to Eastern was because I saw the growing diversification of our campus community. Having come from the diverse campuses of California State University, I know the rewards that can be achieved when we celebrate diversity, learn from one another, and continue to foster an environment of respect and unity. We cannot let actions of hate derail the progress so many are making to build a campus community that honors and respects our differences.
During our 12th annual Diversity & Inclusion Week, I was so proud to see the many participants – students, faculty, staff and community members – who attended the exceptional offering of events. I personally want to thank everyone who was involved – from those who planned all of the events, to our guest speakers and volunteers, and especially everyone who took time to participate, reflect and grow from the experiences they had.
Our commitment to weaving DEI efforts into the fabric of our campus culture is year-round and multi-faceted. We will continue to work to bring speakers to campus and host events that challenge us, encourage us, and educate us on diversity, anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ allyship, Indigenous heritage and history, and more. Higher education campuses are places of inclusivity and belonging, built on the principle of continuous pursuit of knowledge to develop informed citizens and transformative community leaders. For this reason, I am committed to building a new strategic plan for Eastern centered around the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion – not as a separate, unconnected goal – but as the bedrock of all of our initiatives, services, programs, and community impact. More detailed information will be shared in the near future.
We must all work together to end discrimination and racism in all its forms and recommit to celebrating our differences every day.
Dr. Shari McMahan, President