Dear members of the Northern Wyoming Community College District,
It is important to recognize the multitude of stressors facing our young people today. Not only are we in the midst of a pandemic, our country is reeling from the injustice that occurred in Minneapolis last week. Over the past days, powerful instances of both peaceful protests and violent civil unrest have occurred throughout the United States.
We have seen the physical and mental health tolls that come from exposure to stress caused by ever-present race-based bias, vitriol, and hate. Further, we know the health of an individual is tied to the health of the community and society in which they live. Part of the role of higher education is to improve the health and well-being of our communities so it is especially troubling to us, who think we are making progress toward leaving a better country and world than we were born into, to see people express abuse of power, hate, bullying, and mob violence.
At the Colleges of NWCCD, we are fully committed to creating an environment that fosters learning and to providing a campus culture that is grounded in our core values: Respect, Integrity, Excellence, and Learning. We seek to help people build themselves and their communities. As leaders, we are committed to demonstrating empathy, wisdom, and understanding, and to never act in a manner that fosters more divisions between people.
I will reiterate what I shared with all employees in February- we must model the behavior we expect from others. We must do everything we can to identify and eliminate unfair biases, stereotypes, and barriers.
Please join me in rededicating ourselves, individually and collectively, to the pursuit of social justice by providing education to reduce socioeconomic inequities that lead to a divided people.
Walter Tribley, Ph.D.