Addressing Recent Events and Our Commitment to Civil Discourse

September 26, 2016

Dear East Carolina University,

Our country is facing some of the most challenging times in our recent history. Violence that until now played out more remotely has moved closer to home in our state. Like each of you, I have watched the events taking place in Charlotte and experienced questions and frustration.

The concern is great. Our questions are real. The search for answers must continue. Yet a lot of what we read and see encourages us to divide and separate.

That makes me particularly grateful and proud for the manner in which our community has conducted itself during these trying times. Our students have expressed themselves in respectful and meaningful ways. Last week, ECU students, faculty and staff engaged in respectful, heartfelt conversations about the recent violence. Students held and continue to plan peaceful and educational demonstrations. Our faculty and staff, including ECU police officers have provided support for each other and our students. We can all be proud of our University and our commitment to civil discourse.

I am convinced this is the most productive pathway forward. In uncertain times, division and separation can break us down. Coming together to stand united offers the strongest opportunity to influence powerful change.

In the days ahead, if you need support or someone to talk to as you process these events, I encourage you to access the various resources across our campus. Our students may contact the Dean of Students Office (252-328-9297) or Center for Counseling & Student Development (252-328-6661). Our faculty and staff may contact the Office for Equity and Diversity (252-328-6804) or the Office of Employee Relations (252-328-9848). You are not alone. We are here to help and support you.

At ECU, we value our differences and the opportunities to learn from one another. We strive to provide an open, welcoming, respectful and safe environment for civil discourse. That work only deepens our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and supports efforts to address issues of intolerance and justice. Thank you for engaging in meaningful and respectful dialogue around these important issues.



Cecil P. Staton