Meredith students, faculty and staff,
With the message I sent yesterday, I caused harm and want to apologize. I did not state my sentiments well. I am grieved, and I want to take responsibility as a leader.
George Floyd’s death was unacceptable and unjust: his pain, his call for mercy, and even more (most) heart-rendering, his call for his mother rip my heart.
The lives of black and brown people matter to me and to Meredith. Our campus community is richer and stronger because of the contributions of our students, faculty, staff and alumnae of color.
In the context of George Floyd’s and scores of other wrenching deaths and their racial overtones and realities, I am initiating a college-wide conversation on race and action, and I am so pleased some students and faculty and staff have already stepped forward to offer help and eager participation in this important conversation. Please stay tuned for calls for your participation...we welcome you all. Always.
I am also committed to continuing to participate, along with the college’s vice presidents and their direct reports, in the diversity and inclusion workshop series we started in 2019-2020. I’d also like to specifically invite members of Meredith’s Black Student Union to talk with me and other members of the administration, faculty, and staff about how we can improve the experiences of Black students at Meredith. These are two steps; more will come.
While we may not always share the same experiences, as I acknowledged in my original message, I believe the Meredith College community will coalesce on a pathway for moving toward openness and justice.
As a Meredith College English major, I am fully—fully—aware of the power of language at any time, but never more than in these days. I do believe that racial inequalities have always plagued our country and that it is imperative that we address those inequalities in ways that heal.
I am open and eager to learn from those who will teach me. I care and appreciate hearing from students and others in response to yesterday’s message. Let us continue to teach each other and become the better community we strive to be.
President Jo Allen, ’80