A message from President Hatch regarding equity and inclusion

This is a message e-mailed by President Hatch to faculty, students and staff today:

Dear Members of the Wake Forest Community,

Colleges and universities have been in the national spotlight this week as students, faculty and staff at Missouri, Yale, Ithaca and other institutions have protested and demanded corrective action against bigotry, racism and injustice.

If you are feeling similar pain and tension on our campus, you are not alone. If you think the pain and tension experienced by others – at Wake Forest and on campuses across the country – do not affect you, I invite you to reconsider. As a nation and as a community of higher learning, we must make progress in handling issues of diversity, inclusion and equity.

Wake Forest’s commitment to an equitable and inclusive campus culture is unwavering. Making that a reality for everyone is overdue. I am, however, encouraged by the efforts of countless University leaders, faculty, staff and students.

Today in Washington, D.C., Wake Forest is co-hosting a daylong summit with the White House Council on Women and Girls on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color. This morning, Provost Rogan Kersh announced that Wake Forest is part of a collaborative that has committed $18 million to support and improve related academic research. I encourage you to read more about this significant step toward closing the research deficit and its implications for policymaking.

Next week, we will welcome Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of The New York Times bestseller, “Between the World and Me,” to a packed Wait Chapel as part of our Voices of Our Time speaker series. Known for writing about race, culture, politics and social issues, Coates is a finalist for the National Book Award and a 2015 MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner. If you don’t have tickets and are interested in the wait list, sign up before 3 p.m. today.

If you would like to learn more about or get involved in steps we are taking to make Wake Forest an equitable and inclusive campus culture, we want to hear from you. I – along with Vice President Penny Rue, Dean of Students Adam Goldstein, Chief Diversity Officer Barbee Oakes, and many others in our administration – would appreciate listening to your concerns and working with you toward real solutions. Additionally, we continue to update the Community in Progress website and the work of our Deliberative Dialogue implementation teams is ongoing. Dialogue on our campus must continue, and we must also demand action from each other and ourselves in the name of Pro Humanitate.


Nathan O. Hatch