Responding to Concerns and Moving Forward

NC State Belltower lit up red at night

Dear NC State Community,

Following the recent messages to the community from Chancellor Woodson and university leadership, we want to share updates to some of the concerns that have been raised. We also want to share a few developing NC State initiatives we are working on right now and a few current diversity and inclusion opportunities.

First and foremost, we acknowledge the extent to which racism and racial harassment, as well as other forms of bigotry, harassment and discrimination, exist in our culture as a nation, and likewise, right here on our own campus. For our shortcomings in fully engaging in meaningful and sustained dialogue about these important topics and lived experiences and our efforts to work on addressing them, we apologize and commit to doing better going forward.

We appreciate all the messages and concerns that many members of our community have brought forward. Thank you. We hear you. Your voices matter. We are working hard at listening better and being transparent.

We know we can and must do more to enact meaningful and sustained change. As we move forward, we will be actively seeking opportunities for students, faculty and staff to help us co-create the pathway to the change our community wants, needs and deserves.

Specific Issues of Concern 

  • In Fall 2019, University Housing engaged in discussions about the potential of moving the Black Male Initiative (BMI) from the Avent Ferry Complex to another residence hall building on main campus. The discussion was part of a larger review to consider housing upperclass and graduate students in Avent Ferry and have first-year students stay on the central core of campus. Based on feedback from BMI student participants and staff, University Housing learned the importance of the location to the initiative and decided to delay any potential moves to engage in further discussions with students and campus stakeholders. NC State fully supports the amazing BMI program.
  • In Fall 2018, following the completion of that year’s Diversity Education Week (DEW), a planning team of representatives from several campus offices partnered to review the impact and reach of DEW. Their intent was to develop a more robust series of programs that would reinforce NC State’s institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. They realized that more needed to be done to inspire an institutional paradigm shift that would improve how we promote and advance diversity and inclusion at NC State.

The team ultimately decided to pause DEW for fall 2019 to allow time to better plan for the future of the program and devote more time and resources that year to promoting other key initiatives. These included developing a multifaceted promotional campaign to encourage more students to complete the campus climate survey, exploring high-impact evidence-based practices for integrating aspects of inclusion more strategically and consistently into campus-wide programming, and utilizing resources to develop more campus-wide diversity education initiatives for students. The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity will seek input from campus partners to plan a more robust and impactful diversity and inclusion programming calendar for the 2020-21 academic year.  We will evaluate the format and timing of this based on the status of our status under COVID-19 parameters.

Moving Forward

NC State is dedicated to addressing racism and all forms of harassment and discrimination, and to extending ongoing campus diversity and inclusion efforts.

Internally, we have begun looking at NC State’s policies and practices to examine every opportunity, as allowed by law, to strengthen our ability to stand and act against unacceptable racism, harassment and discriminatory behavior.

We are in the process of securing a nationally-recognized online training program that teaches skills for engaging with diversity, reducing unconscious bias, communicating effectively and making everyday choices with inclusive impact. All students, faculty and staff — including all senior administrators — will be required to complete this program. We’re developing a plan to use this training as a starting point for campus and look forward to engaging in additional educational opportunities and discussions as a community.

We are working on a process for engaging in broad campus dialogue when students, faculty and staff return to campus in the fall in order to discuss, address and make progress regarding the challenges we face. This will not be an easy, fast or a perfect process. But, we are confident that working together with steadfast commitment, we can make real progress. We are working on a plan to facilitate those discussions.

Ongoing Opportunities

The responsibility of supporting and advancing a positive, inclusive campus culture falls to each member of the Wolfpack. As students, faculty, staff and administrators within this community, we must choose to continually learn, grow and act in ways that value diversity, empathy, respect and tolerance. Although most of us remain off campus for now, following are a few suggestions of how to stay involved.

  • Increase your personal awareness of equity, diversity and inclusion and find support for self-care through this list of resources.
  • Keep up with the latest diversity and inclusion-related news, events, announcements and opportunities by subscribing to Diversity Digest.
  • Review the Diversity web portal. This site organizes a wealth of information about NC State’s efforts as they relate to diversity and inclusion, including education and training resources, programs, an events calendar and more.

One Pack

NC State remains steadfast in its strong commitment to advance our core values of equity, diversity and inclusion to build a stronger working, learning and living environment for all members of our university community. As a Pack, we can work to address racism and advance a truly diverse, inclusive and supportive campus culture. We look forward to working together on this critical effort.


Sheri Schwab
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity

Lisa Zapata
Interim Vice Chancellor for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs