Chauncey Bowden | Staff Writer

At the beginning of the semester Chancellor Woodson released a letter on the NC State website titled “Strengthening Campus Unity.” This letter served as a welcome to students coming back from the winter break. Chancellor Woodson began the letter in typical fashion pointing out that the university is better than ever and “experiencing unprecedented success.

He went on to say that NC State still has issues to overcome, saying, “In particular, we join campuses and communities across the country in an important national conversation about issues of race, religion, intolerance and discrimination — critical matters that in one way or another touch all of our lives.”

Woodson introduces seven initiatives designed to “advance diversity and inclusion at NC State”. These plans have the potential to have incredible influence, if they ever happen. The first initiative states that the chancellor and Provost Arden will work alongside several students, faculty and staff to get their recommendations and hear about their experiences on campus.

Chancellor Woodson says that these meetings have already been scheduled and I hope that these groups take full advantage of this opportunity and truly voice any concerns that they may have. I also hope that the students that he plans to meet with are a good representation of the needs that need to be met on our campus.

Another initiative discusses two programs that will be implemented by the Office of the Provost, the Emerging Scholar Program and the Senior Visiting Scholar Program. According to the letter these programs are “an effort to attract African-American and other underrepresented faculty to NC State.” He also stated that the Council on Undergraduate Education is evaluating ways to ensure that diversity are parts of the NC State curricula.

While I certainly agree with our Chancellor that NC State is experiencing unprecedented success, this success is certainly not always applied across the board. Our university prides itself on its think and do attitude, yet far too often there has not been enough action taken place when addressing issues surrounding race.

It is clear that Chancellor Woodson is aware of the issues pertaining to diversity on this campus. Yet, we all know that awareness is not enough in order to implement change; it is only the starting point.

Students have voiced concerns about the racial climate on campus for years. While this university continues to strive for academic excellence and a relevant space amongst our competitors Duke and Chapel Hill, our diversity initiatives often come across as ingenuine. While these efforts look great on paper, it would have been even better to have Chancellor Woodson address these plans in person at the Racial Climate Town Hall meeting.

Far too often marginalized students have carried the weight in addressing these issues, and honestly, it isn’t their job to do so. As students, our time here is short. While we may be able to start social movements within the four years that we spend here, it is hard to ensure that they continue after we are gone; this is where administration should help.

Chancellor Woodson and the administrators involved in these programs should be held accountable for making sure that these programs come into fruition. It will be nice to see their influence facilitate a healthier racial environment on campus.
Read the Chancellor’s letter here: