App State is celebrating Indigenous People’s Day today to recognize the Indigenous communities that have lived in the Americas for thousands of years and honor their histories, resilience and many contributions to our world. I invite you to join our community at a special program this evening, Why Ira Walked: The Struggle to Teach American Indian History, to commemorate this important day.
App State’s official enrollment numbers for fall 2022 show continued progress in broadening representation among students to better reflect the state population. Under Chancellor Sheri Everts’ leadership, we have the most diverse student body in university history for the eighth year in a row, with 18.6% of students who are racially and/or ethnically underrepresented. This represents a 66% increase since 2014. Of all the racially/ethnically underrepresented student groups, the Hispanic/Latine population is the largest, representing 8% of our student population, and has grown significantly since fall 2014, increasing by 123%.
At App State, we are committed to cultivating and supporting a welcoming university community and an academic culture of collaboration and respect through education and inclusive practices. As we begin our fall semester, I want to share information about upcoming events as well as resources available to help you connect with the diversity, equity and inclusion work taking place across campus.
The inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report arrives at a critical juncture for diversity, equity and inclusion work on App State’s campus. We are working to implement recommendations from the UNC System Racial Equity Task Force, Black at App State and various working groups. App State continues to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. And we cannot negate the fierce impact that the dual pandemics of the last few years have had on our campus community.
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the chief diversity officer at App State. Thank you to Chancellor Everts for championing this work for our university, and to all who prioritize and support diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus. We all play a role in this work.
Earlier this month we held our annual Diversity Celebration. This year’s celebration centered around storytelling, expressed through creative endeavors such as dance, literature and film. A special thanks goes out to all of those who joined the celebration by showcasing or attending.
At App State, we value a learning environment that is conducive to knowledge, respect, acceptance, understanding and global awareness. While we look to build a future grounded in these principles, part of our work is acknowledging and honoring the contributions of those from the past.
The recent attack on Ukraine evokes a number of emotions, concerns and challenges for those in our campus community. We recognize that this is felt particularly by our military-affiliated campus population, as well as those with family and loved ones living in or visiting the region.
While the opportunities to learn about Black history are now just a click or two away — and being more actively integrated into education at all levels — taking the time to intentionally pause, acknowledge and celebrate achievements of Black musicians, scientists and community leaders provides an opportunity for us to broaden our knowledge and helps us see how the past connects with our lives today.
Though many of us can’t imagine a year without MLK Day — which is designed to be a day of service — it took nearly 15 years for it to become a federal holiday, and it wasn’t until 2000 that all states recognized the holiday at the state level.