STLCC Trustees Publicly Denounce Racism, Focus on Equity
At this very moment, the country finds itself gripped in conflict -- anger, sadness and pain is laid bare. Recent incidents in race relations across the United States – most notably in the past few days, weeks and months – have reopened the wounds of inequality, discrimination and flaws in the criminal justice system and in society. We find ourselves hearing and repeating a familiar refrain: There is still much work to be done.
St. Louis Community College holds a unique position. Its mission rests on educational opportunity and access for all, and the community has often called upon the College to be so much more.
In 2014, during the events of Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown Jr., STLCC-Florissant Valley became a space where voices were amplified, where students could safely learn, protest, and most importantly, assist with the real work of finding solutions to social and educational inequities.
The call to action continues in an unprecedented moment to lead and provide an environment of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice for all STLCC students, faculty, staff and community partners.
In June, the STLCC Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution Denouncing Racism to affirm the College’s stance against bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and inequity in all forms, both institutional and individual, and the commitment to the well-being and safety of Black, brown and indigenous community members and those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
Through the resolution, the trustees believe it’s important to make an official statement to reflect the College’s position against racism and to acknowledge responsibility. As part of the public commitment, STLCC is featured in the diversity edition of the St. Louis American, published Aug. 27.
“Our institution plays an important role in the community. We need to ensure we are part of the solution and not the problem,” said Kevin M. Martin, Ed.D., trustee.
Anne Adams Marshall, board vice chair, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has focused a spotlight on structural racial injustices.
“These two pandemics -- COVID-19 and racism -- caused us to speak out,” she said. “Saying nothing and doing nothing promotes and continues the wrongs and injustice inherently baked into the fabric of our society.”
“We realize that the mission of creating an environment that embraces diversity and inclusion is ongoing,” said Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “Therefore, we remain vigilant in our efforts to review existing policies and make changes when necessary. We are committed to ensuring that St. Louis Community College remains a first-class institution of higher learning where all people are welcomed, respected and valued.”
The resolution reinforces that STLCC has stated equity, diversity and inclusion as a focus of the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan.
To ensure the purpose behind the resolution is sustained, STLCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Council will provide the board with quarterly updates and develop recommendations and initiatives.