June 29, 2020

Subject: Student Life commitment to our community

Dear Mines students,

You are the reason we work at Mines, showing up every day whether remotely or in-person, even in a global pandemic. It is our mission to serve you, support you, empower you, and challenge you — so that you can help serve others and make the world a better place through your Mines education.

When racism and injustice harm communities, especially among Black people and other people of color, as it has for centuries and continues to do so today, it is also our responsibility to speak up for the ideals that we espouse as a country and as a campus – freedom from violence, justice for those who have been harmed, and a shared responsibility for an inclusive and equitable community life together.

George Floyd is one of many names in a decades-long list of African-Americans whose lives were brutally cut short by the scourge of racism that has existed in this country since its very founding. Especially in recent weeks and months, it seems our world is overflowing with pain and injustice. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted already marginalized communities. All of us have lost something in the pandemic, but many more so than others. The violence, injustice, and grief in recent days and weeks is painful for all of us, but especially for those communities who have endured generational suffering of racism and discrimination, year upon year, decade upon decade, even century upon century.

As a Student Life leadership team with responsibility for everything from public safety to athletics, academic support to health services, counseling to housing, and everything in between, we recognize both our responsibility and our privilege to serve all of our students, and to create a campus community built on equity, justice, inclusion, and ultimately, love. We want to serve and support you. We also want to listen to you and also challenge you. We recognize that racism exists on our campus, and with your support and involvement, we intend to use our roles on campus to advocate for positive change and justice.

As the summer progresses into fall, we will undertake the following efforts:
We will engage in listening sessions with student groups to better understand how we as Student Life leaders can help improve Mines for underrepresented students, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, LGBTQ+, international, undocumented, first-generation, and low-income students.
Mines Public Safety will host a virtual town hall-style discussion to invite dialogue about police training, policies, and practices with our students, faculty, staff, and the larger community.
We also invite the campus community to review the Diversity, Inclusion, and Access (DI&A) unit plans for Athletics, CLASS, Public Safety, and ROTC, which are currently undergoing the annual review process and will be updated on the Mines DI&A website later this summer. We welcome your feedback on these plans, as they will continue to change and evolve to meet the needs of our campus.
We will continue to work with our campus partners in HR and Mines DI&A to assess and improve employee hiring and retention practices so that our Student Life staff better reflects the diversity of our student body.
We will invest in training our professional and student staff to be better prepared to dismantle racism and other forms of bigotry. And while we undertake such an effort to understand and begin to deconstruct systemic oppression inherent in our campus culture and larger society, we invite each of our students to join us in doing the same. We certainly haven’t figured it all out, and we acknowledge that we have a significant amount of work to do. We invite you to climb with us on this journey.

Lastly, we understand that violence, injustice, and racial trauma can have serious impacts on wellbeing and mental health, whether or not you are directly impacted. If you’re not okay, please reach out for support. The Mines Counseling Center has a number of virtual services available, including scheduled support check-ins with counselors, free online counseling through AHP Live Care and more. The center’s counselors are also hosting virtual office hours every Monday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., offering a safe place to talk about anything you’re dealing with.

Wherever you are today – whether you’re in Golden, Colorado or across the globe – you are not alone. You are part of the Mines community. You are an Oredigger. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can support you. We will learn from and care for each other as we move forward together, one day at a time.

In solidarity,

Dan Fox, Vice President of Student Life
Rebecca Flintoft, Associate Vice President of Student Life
Lia Franklin, Executive Assistant
David Hansburg, Athletic Director
Derek Morgan, Dean of Students
Dustin Olson, Chief of Police & Director of Public Safety
Andrea Salazar Morgan, Director of MEP
Aaron Smith, ROTC Commander
Colin Terry, Associate Dean of Students