I am writing to you, our campus communities at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, to acknowledge the pain, hopelessness and rage being experienced following the Monday afternoon death of George Floyd.
Be assured that Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College absolutely reject racism and intolerance. These events — including the protests that Mr. Floyd’s death have sparked over the last two days — are a sobering reminder that Minnesota is not free from racial injustice, and we are witnessing the tragic consequences.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Floyd and to all associated either directly or indirectly with this incident. Our hearts also ache with Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College students and employees who may have been triggered by Mr. Floyd’s death.
I recognize that events like this can have a powerful impact on our lives. Please take the time to engage with friends, colleagues, family, or other support networks. Reach out to those who may help. And we encourage any member of our campus communities — students, employees, or guests on our campuses — who have experienced discrimination or harassment to file a complaint with our Office of Equity & Inclusion.
As we move forward, it is imperative that we remember to maintain our culture of civility and respect when interacting with one another, on this and all issues. There are ways of communicating a point of view that maintain relationships, respect difference, and move communities closer together instead of further apart.
If you or someone you know experiences harassment or bullying because of their race or national origin, you can file a complaint or simply discuss the situation with Heather Labat from the Office of Equity & Inclusion. Voicemail messages will roll over to email.
- Heather Labat (civil rights and Title IX investigator): email@example.com, 755-4053
Additional resources are available to all employees through the state of Minnesota’s Employee Assistance Program. Learn more about the program by visiting mn.gov/mmb/segip/health-and-wellbeing/eap/ and using the password “stmn1”, or call the LifeMatters hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at (651) 259-3840 or (800) 657-3719.
Please take care of yourselves and of each other.
Faith C. Hensrud, Ed.D.
Bemidji State University & Northwest Technical College
1500 Birchmont Drive NE, #3
Bemidji, MN 56601