Dean Roland Mitchell Issues Statement Addressing the Death of George Floyd
June 8, 2020
A Message From Dean Roland Mitchell:
What do you see when you look at me…a Black man? But, who am I really… a husband, father, brother, son, scholar, educator, researcher, and an administrator. I am Dr. Roland Mitchell, Dean of the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education and a human being who wears many hats – just like each of you. I would venture to say that we share the same desire for health and prosperity, pursuit of education and enhanced knowledge, the yearning to see our children and communities thrive and strive to have our share of the proverbial American Dream.
Yet, for far too long, Black men have been criminalized, dismissed, persecuted, victimized and labeled as threats to society because of the color of our skin. Why are we categorized as less than human…and why is that okay? Well, it’s not okay…in fact, it’s unacceptable, unconscionable, and must stop.
The recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have unleashed years of pent up pain and frustration and have reopened local wounds of Alton Sterling’s death in Baton Rouge along with a long list of other Blacks around the country who were killed at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve. As I navigated through South Baton Rouge and turned the corner on LSU's campus today, I took a moment. I took a moment to pause and reflect upon the magnitude of our current situation. As a dean, a campus leader, and yes - as a Black man - I must reiterate that LSU’s College of Human Sciences & Education is dedicated to “Improving Quality of Life Across the Lifespan” and we can’t fix a problem until everyone recognizes that it exists. Our nation is in turmoil, and we can’t be silent. We can’t be silent about the injustices that exist. This is not a Black issue, not a White issue…it’s a humane issue.
We recognize the anger, fear, pain, and sense of hopelessness that some of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and many others in our community are experiencing right now. In CHSE we are in a position to influence change and must stand strongly against racism, hatred, bigotry, and all forms of injustice.
We recognize the importance and strength of diversity and inclusion. This fall, LSU is expecting the largest and most diverse undergraduate student population in our history. I’m excited about welcoming all students and supporting those who feel marginalized, disadvantaged or even threatened. In CHSE, we will provide an environment that is welcoming and supportive and are developing initiatives to support that goal.
What are we doing?
- Appointed an Assistant Dean to lead our college’s diversity, advocacy, and inclusion efforts.
- Re-engaging our college’s Diversity Committee.
- Sharing a Learning Library - “CHSE Reading Room on Racism and Social Justice” with publications written by our very own faculty members
- Launching a new series entitled, “Perspectives” that will address a multitude of issues impacting diversity and inclusion.
- Recognizing Colleen Temple, a student at our University Laboratory School as she truly embodies the school's motto "Total Effort in Every Endeavor" and was one of three area students who organized a march in Baton Rouge. Thank you Colleen.
What can you do to support social justice?
- Be compassionate. Listen with an open heart.
- Challenge your own biases and recognize racism.
- Participate in dialogue. Speak up.
- Engage in social justice work.
- Educate yourself.
- Collaborate with organizations and groups working toward positive change.
- Turn your plans into action.
- Contact your local and national elected officials.
- Complete the 2020 Census.
- Exercise your right to vote.
In CHSE, we are not sideline sitters…we are changemakers! Be the change that we need to fight injustice. Let’s stand together and stand for one another. Black Lives Matter…let’s find healing in our common humanity. Let's work together to promote racial and social justice.
For all of our students, colleagues, friends, and alumni who are hurting right now, you are not alone. Be well during this pandemic and this crisis and know that: If you have any concerns, suggestions, or information you would like to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roland Mitchell, PhD
Dean and E.B. "Ted" Robert Endowed Professor
Find out more information on Perspectives, our series to address race and inclusion - Coming Soon