Message from the Chief Diversity Officer
Dear App State Community,
On behalf of the App State leadership and community, I would like to express my support to our Jewish community following last night’s incident at the Temple of the High Country, where a Nazi flag was draped over the Temple’s sign. While the flag was not displayed on campus, such an expression of hatred and anti-semitism impacts the wellbeing and sense of safety and belonging that all members of our campus community deserve. Our primary concern is to support students, faculty and staff who are members of the Jewish community. So we have activated the Chancellor’s leadership team response protocol, which includes investigating the incident and evaluating risk to our community, reaching out to identify community members in need of support, communicating to our community broadly and in small groups, and continuing our educational efforts to break down barriers that divide our community.
I have been in contact with the Temple of the High Country, North Carolina Hillel, the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies, and student leaders to express our condemnation of this act and our solidarity with them. Additionally, App State Police have reached out to the Boone Police Department to offer any assistance they may need.
As each of us processes this incident, I encourage all Mountaineers to take advantage of available resources:
- If you feel unsafe, please contact App State Police.
- For students, Counseling for Students offers individual counseling as well as a broad scope of services at no charge.
- If you are aware of any student who may be affected and has not reached out for support, please encourage them to contact the Dean of Students Office in Room 324, Plemmons Student Union. They can go in person, call 828-262-8284 or email email@example.com.
- For faculty and staff, the university offers an Employee Assistance Program, and Counseling for Faculty and Staff also offers services for faculty, staff and their immediate families.
- The Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies offers open conversation weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As App State celebrates Black History Month, we must redouble our efforts to seek understanding in difference and embrace the values we have in common. It’s important to remember that rituals, traditions and festive gatherings mark important milestones in a community’s shared history and serve to reinforce group identity. These celebrations are often used to mark the passing of seasons, seminal events in a people’s history or stages of a person’s life. The arts play an integral role in many of these activities — from the creation of songs to the repetition of age-old dance rituals — as does language, in the form of poetry, prose and oral recitations. They are particularly important for certain underrepresented communities who have fought to establish, explore and retain their cultural heritage. Preserving these cultural practices is one way we can work together to build an even stronger community based on mutual understanding, shared values and a sense of belonging.
App State’s monthlong celebration includes a wide variety of activities honoring the many important contributions Black people have made to our community and state, as well as our nation and the world. I hope that you will join me in celebrating Black History Month by participating in any of the upcoming events listed below:
- On Feb. 17, at 1:30 p.m., the Office of Diversity will host “We’re Here: NPHC and Multicultural Greek Communities at App State,” a virtual panel discussion led by one of the members of our Greek community.
- App State will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service during the Mobilize the Mountains Day of Service on Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students will serve with local community partners and reflect on social issues affecting North Carolina’s High Country region.
- On Feb. 19, at 4 p.m., the Hayes School of Music and the Department of English will host a Black History Month Concert celebrating the works of African American composers and poets.
- The Walker College of Business will host The View from Junaluska: Perspectives from a Black Appalachian Community on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. This multigenerational panel will feature candid discussion on life and work in Boone with local residents of the Junaluska neighborhood, a historically Black community in the High Country.
- As part of NC Reads, North Carolina Humanities’ statewide book club, the Office of Diversity and University Libraries will host a kickoff party for the book “Carolina Built,” by Kianna Alexander, on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.
- The Schaefer Center will host an evening with Mavis Staples, hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25.
By engaging in these and other events with open hearts and open minds, we will cultivate a stronger sense of belonging for every Mountaineer.
Jamie Parson, J.D.
Chief Diversity Officer