April 10: Anti-stigma statement in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak & response

Dear colleagues;

Sadly, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak we have heard reports of increased levels of stereotyping, harassment and bullying directed at members of our community, including those who are perceived to be of Asian descent. In particular, we are aware of xenophobic comments directed toward some of our international students.

These behaviors are not consistent with our values as institutions and we condemn them. Neither BSU nor NTC tolerate any kind of ethnic harassment or bullying. The diversity of our communities — in both our employees and in our student bodies — is among our greatest strengths.

We are committed to ensuring welcoming and supportive campus environments for all members of our community. It is vitally important we work together, follow the practices recommended by public health officials, and proceed with preparedness, calm and understanding.

If you or someone you know experiences ethnic harassment or bullying, you can file a complaint or simply discuss the situation with someone from the Affirmative Action Office. Voicemail messages will roll over to our email accounts.

BSU and NTC are also joining the Minnesota State system office in a social media anti-stigma campaign which began earlier this week. We are sharing posts from the system office, posting our own material and encouraging our audiences to celebrate the diversity in our communities as one of our greatest strengths. You can participate in this campaign on your own social media channels by using the #MinnStateCommunity and #AntiStigma hashtags in your posts. Information for you to share will come from @MinnStateEquity on Twitter.

Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.
Bemidji State University & Northwest Technical College