Dear FSU Community,
I would like to thank The Gatepost for giving me this opportunity to welcome you back to Framingham State University for a semester unlike any other in our 181-year history. So much feels different since the last time we were together, and indeed, the entire world has changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 people in the United States and forced all of us to adjust how we live and interact with others. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in late May has sparked a racial reckoning that calls on us to examine what more we can do to advance the liberation of the Black community and support what should be the uncontroversial statement that BLACK LIVES MATTER. And as I write this, a large swath of the West Coast is on fire and a hurricane batters Alabama, more evidence of the increasingly severe consequences of the world’s inaction on Climate Change.
What can we do at our small New England University in the face of such global problems?
We can get to work. We can earn degrees that enable us to become leaders in pushing for social justice, or advancing scientific research. We can become educators and make our mark on the leaders who will come after us. We can volunteer at organizations that are undertaking this work in our communities, or for the political campaigns of candidates whose values align with our own.
At the administrative level, we are recommitting ourselves to becoming an anti-racist institution, not just in words, but in practice. This ongoing process requires us to engage all members of our community in capacity building and training that aids in the understanding of the realities of race, racism, anti-Blackness, and systemic oppression. We are also dedicating increased resources to improve the remote learning experience, to ensure that we can continue to offer an excellent and engaging learning experience throughout the pandemic.
It has been so nice having students back on campus these past three weeks, even in our limited capacity. If we hope to make it through the semester this way, we must all continue to be vigilant about following health and safety guidelines. Please wear your face coverings on and off campus, avoid large gatherings, practice good hygiene, and monitor your health daily for symptoms of illness. If you suspect you might be ill, quarantine yourself right away and contact the Health Department so we can get you tested. This is going to take all of us to be successful.
So welcome back to Framingham State University. Let’s get to work.
Javier Cevallos, Ph.D. President Framingham State University