A Message from Dr. Monty Sullivan (LCTCS System President)
Condemning Racial Inequality, While Establishing an Inclusive and Respectful Environment for America's Future
A Statement and Call to Action by Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges
As a result of George Floyd's indefensible murder, our nation is forced to look in the mirror and reconcile its past and present inauspicious and discriminatory treatment of African Americans. This reconciliation is honestly long overdue.
With the full support of our Board of Supervisors, Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges stand in solidarity and mourn alongside Mr. Floyd's family and others who have lost loved ones to police brutality, discrimination, and racism. These behaviors are contrary to the structure and mission on which the Louisiana Community and Technical College System were founded.
As educators, it is our moral obligation and responsibility to promote and encourage inclusivity and diversity and to denounce discrimination and acts that impede social justice to which each of us is entitled. It is also a moral imperative for us in higher education to foster communities where we educate students from all walks of life and structurally change our world. In the current environment, structural change will require action and initiating uncomfortable dialogue, understanding, and a call to action to move forward truly. We believe the solutions to some of our nation's challenges rest within us at Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges and our university partners. It is up to each of us to make a positive difference. Take action to address access and educational inequality, poverty, and racism openly and head-on.
Our Work Towards an Inclusive Culture
Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges will continue to inspire a more inclusive culture by creating space for thoughtful conversations, holding each other accountable, and actively participating in positive socio-economic change for communities of color.
Before COVID-19 and valid social protests, we were beginning the process of working with an independent third-party organization to help thoroughly review hiring and promotion practices to ensure any encountered biases are removed. We were also analyzing all student data (credit, workforce, and adult education) through an equity lens to better understand who we are serving and who we are not serving well. This analysis will help us to make more informed decisions on program and institutional improvements.
The tragic circumstances of Mr. Floyd's death have confirmed that we must deliberately continue working to establish an environment in which there are equitable opportunities to achieve individually defined successes.
Our Call to Action
- Over the next several months and years to come, we at least commit to:
- Review all majors, adult education courses, and general education courses to ensure issues of race and equity are embedded in the curriculum and discussed in a healthy and culturally changing manner.
- Enhance services and training for underserved populations in our communities by measuring and evaluating areas of our state where we can increase the educational attainment of underserved populations while improving services currently offered to our students.
- Establish a statewide committee/task force from within the faculty/staff to meet and generate actionable recommendations focused on diversity/inclusion within LCTCS workplaces.
- Ensure resources to programming so that first-generation college and adult education students have the tools necessary to succeed.
As a nation, we did not just get to this point. It has taken generations upon generations to arrive at this moment in our nation's history. But it does not have to take generations to see the kind of systemic cultural change and improvements we can all be proud of as Americans.
Our Commitment to an Inclusive Culture
We are committed to doing our part, and respectfully ask that each of you do your part, as change comes from within one's self. We are in this together. Your community and technical colleges are in this for the long haul. Please remain safe and remember that we are here to support each other as a family of students, faculty, and staff across Louisiana. As we reflect on our responsibility during this challenging time, we stand committed to changing lives and creating positive futures for Louisiana and its people.
Dr. Monty Sullivan
Louisiana's Community and Technical College System