Nov. 13, 2015
CWU President Pledges to Work with Campus Activists
CWU President James L. Gaudino today met with students who gathered to voice support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Gaudino spoke with about 60 students for an hour about campus diversity, the treatment of students of color, and personal safety.
Gaudino said the students were raising important questions that are at the forefront of university discussions nationwide.
"I reject racism in all forms; there is no place for it at this university or anywhere," Gaudino said. "I look forward to continuing discussions with students to find ways we can ensure that Central is a place that welcomes all of its students regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference.
"Recent events at the University of Missouri and other schools shows that higher education has to be more sensitive to the needs of our students, particularly those of color. While we have made solid strides in terms of diversifying our student body and making Central a more inclusive environment, this shows that we still have a way to go."
After the student gathering broke up, Gaudino spent an additional two hours discussing specific issues with several of the students. He said he planned to meet again with the group to listen to their concerns, and to find ways that the university can resolve them. He also agreed to issue a statement, in conjunction with the student group's leaders, voicing his support for the main objectives of the Concerned Student 1950 activist group at the University of Missouri.
The group, named after the year that the University of Missouri enrolled its first black student, recently organized protests at the university following a number of race-related incidents on campus. In addition to seeking the removal and an apology from U of M President Timothy L. Wolfe, who resigned last week, the group has sought greater diversity in university hiring and curriculum, increased funding for mental health resources, and development of a strategic plan to help retain marginalized students.
"As I told the students, I believe that black lives matter, Latino lives matter, LGBTQ lives matter—all lives matter," declared Gaudino. "I firmly believe that our differences are what make us stronger as a society and we should embrace our differences."
Media contact: Rich Moreno, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2714, RichardMo@cwu.edu