In recent days, current and former black and African American students have reached out on social media to share their experiences with racism at CMU. I am deeply saddened by their stories; the incidents they describe should never happen to any person, and they certainly should never have occurred at a university that seeks to be an inclusive community of scholars.
I know these students are not alone in their experiences. Several other students of color, as well as students who identify as LGBTQ+, have expressed that they, too, felt unwelcome or isolated during their years on our campus. Some tried to ask for help and felt their concerns were swept under the rug by the very people who should have listened and supported them.
I begin with an apology to the students, faculty and staff who felt invisible or unwelcome: This is unacceptable and I am truly sorry we let you down.
Next, I promise that we will do better. We must acknowledge our history before we can create a better future. And while it is an impossible task to fully eradicate racism and hatred from every heart, it is possible and necessary for us to improve CMU.
We are investigating the stories you share. We are looking for our blind spots and shortcomings, and we are putting into place policies and practices that will prevent future students from having these experiences. We will hold each other accountable for our actions and our work to address these issues.
I cannot change the past, but I will work with our students, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure a better future for others.