JMU News

A Message of Support and Solidarity


Dear JMU Community,

We write to you today with a message of support and solidarity. While our work of diversity, equity, inclusion and access at James Madison University continues — and particularly on racial equity at this time in our history — we are acutely mindful of the events transpiring on a national level and the impact they have on our students, faculty and staff.

Nearly a year ago, the killing of Mr. George Floyd sparked a racial dialogue and a call for action to combat systemic racism in the United States. The university created the Task Force on Racial Equity to provide action-oriented leadership and coordination on these issues, and JMU students also were leaders on this front with the creation of student organizations including the Black Leadership Coalition and Student Coalition Against Racial Injustice, which have elevated the conversation and the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and access at JMU. We remain committed to this important work as a university community.

As a learning community whose members care for one another, please know that the university is here for you. We have a variety of campus support services available, and we encourage anyone who needs them to reach out. These services include:

Additionally, our partners at Campus Compact are holding virtual space on Friday, April 30 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for anyone who wants and needs a sense of community. Register here.

At its core, the Madison Experience is about both people and our educational mission. In times as fraught as these, we must address challenges together, build strength and hope among us, reaffirm our shared values of mutual respect and equity, and interpret and learn from our experiences. For these reasons, JMU will be hosting a number of events in the coming weeks. Details are forthcoming.

Many of you are familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teaching, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” taken from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963. While times like these require our collective focus on this lesson, the rest of Dr. King’s message is profoundly important to remember now. He continued, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Now, more than ever, let’s lift each other up and affirm one another. Allow your networks of students/peers, faculty and staff to support and encourage you during this time. Always remember that you have a home at JMU, as part of a community that supports you and is walking alongside you in our desire and demand for positive change and a better future. Continue to help our nation—but especially JMU—to be a better community for everyone.

We end with a challenge to all. Take a moment to check in and support your colleagues, friends, classmates or even someone you have never met. Let others know you care, and provide a listening and supportive ear during these challenging times.

Jonathan Alger, President
Heather Coltman, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Art Dean, Executive Director for Campus & Community Programs for Access and Inclusion
Donna Harper, Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management
Charlie King, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
Nick Langridge, Vice President for University Advancement
Brent Lewis, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Tim Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs
David Owusu-Ansah, Associate Provost for Diversity

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Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2021

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