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A Message from President Mark A. Hussey

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George Floyd was laid to rest this week, and at his service, many friends and family recalled how George often said he wanted to “change the world”.

As we reflect on the calls for justice and equality that have followed his death, it is clear that George is, in fact, helping to change the world by sparking action and long overdue dialogue. 

I want to assure our community that we have heard these calls and stand united with all those seeking an end to racism in all its forms.

It is now incumbent upon Americans, our communities and institutions to reflect on how we move forward to become a society that values respect of others and inclusivity of all.

In the last two weeks, we have received reports of a few social media posts attributed to current or future students, and in one case, attributed to individuals not affiliated with our university, that include abhorrent racist language and sentiment.

Please know that we have addressed these situations. Racism and intolerance have no place in our community. Our priority remains creating a safe, respectful and inclusive campus for all. 

Those are values upon which our university was built. Here, we stand on the legacy of leaders with integrity like Coach Gil Steinke, a pioneer in college athletics integration in the early 1960s; students with great courage, like Erma Rebecca Summers, the first Black student to graduate our university in 1957, earning a graduate degree in education; like Sid Blanks, the first Black football player in the Lone Star Conference and the 1963 Javelina team captain; and the students who formed the Chicano civil rights movement on our campus in the 1960s and 1970s.

In January, I had the honor of serving as the keynote speaker at the Corpus Christi NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, where I shared my vision for a more respectful and inclusive society. Following that address we began thinking about how to better foster a culture of respect and inclusion into all facets of campus life.

It is clear that we must move forward with action in this area now. 

Our students, faculty and staff will be engaging in the important work of determining how best to advance diversity and inclusion on our campus in the weeks and months to come. You heard yesterday from Lidia Morales, student body president, the thoughts of our Student Government Association. I will share with you more details on these critical efforts as they are finalized.

George Floyd was a Javelina and his legacy is, indeed, changing the world in what we hope will be profound and meaningful ways that result in a more equal and just America. May that, too, be the message around which we can unite to do our part to change our world.

Mark A. Hussey

President, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Category: General Univ

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