Mizzou. Baltimore. Charleston.
National crimes affecting African-American individuals are circulating the media and Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach feels it needs to stop and it starts with students at SU.
Dudley-Eshbach called a meeting on Monday inviting black student leaders, faculty and staff to an open conversation about what can be done to help underrepresented minorities at SU.
Despite efforts made by her administration, the student leaders felt more time was needed to gather their thoughts, so they read a letter addressing their concerns and left the meeting.
The president started the meeting by discussing her issues about the lack of diversity and inclusiveness on campus to the invited students, but wanted to host a space where black students felt comfortable to voice their concerns and hopes for the university’s acceptance of minority students.
“I’d like us to be seen at Salisbury University as demonstrating leadership on these issues that are being dealt with throughout our country,” Dudley-Eshbach said.
Dudley-Eshbach hoped to create a dialogue between students and administration. She then opened the floor for discussion, asking students how members of SU can become more aware and communicative about diversity issues.
A representative read a letter composed by the invited students in response to her request for conversation. Once the letter was finished the students stood together and walked out of the meeting.
The letter titled, “We will get back to you” requested more time to think about issues they would like to address to campus.
“We would like to schedule a time at a later date to present our plan before the entire campus, students and faculty included,” the letter said. “We are highly confident that this method of transparency will improve the clarity of the message along with its sincerity.”
The student leaders Dudley-Eshbach invited included members of the Black Student Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Powerful Connections and Alpha Phi Alpha.
The students addressed that their request for more time to process the issues lacking attention come from a place of “optimism and hope.”
“We all have been misinformed, we however, do not deny that the current environment here on campus takes a huge toll on the psyche of the students of color affected by the subconscious oppression,” the letter said.
The letter continues to state that students wish for change on campus and that they hope real development comes out of their efforts.
“We are dedicated and prepared to do what is necessary to inflict actual long-term change at this university which we call our home,” the letter said.
A powerful statement was made as the letter concluded, signed, “Sincerely, Any Student, Every Student.” The members of the student group then exited the meeting in unison.
Dudley-Eshbach continued the discussion with remaining faculty and staff brainstorming the most efficient way to gain student support on her diversity efforts.
The president stated she was proud of the students who attended and was impressed by the students’ efforts.
“I was disappointed that the students walked out, because I really wanted to begin a dialogue today,” Dudley-Eshbach said. “I wanted to hear from our students, I wanted to hear what their frustrations are, I want them to help suggest what can make our campus a better place.”
With many students leaving for Thanksgiving break today, the return from the holiday leave may provide more discussion between students, faculty and administration.
As the students said, “we will get back to you.”