“With the character to seek to create an equal and just world, the scholarship to understand the transgressions of our past, the service to aid communities in need, and the leadership to organize for a better future, Park Scholars are uniquely qualified to topple the many forms of systemic oppression in existence.”A group of Park Scholars in the Class of 2015
Protests nationwide in the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have focused attention on systemic racism and its insidious effects.
As a program created to develop the potential of scholars in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character, it is the mission of Park Scholarships to prepare scholars with the skills and training necessary to create meaningful change in communities around the world. A foundational understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to this work.
Over the past two months, Park Scholarships has shared several messages about the program’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. While several describe program initiatives either planned or in progress, none are intended to represent a comprehensive list of all actions taken by the program.
- On June 3, Park Scholarships shared a social media post stating Black lives matter and affirming a commitment to actively counter institutionalized racism. The following day, the Park Scholarships staff sent a message to current students and Park Faculty Scholars emphasizing this pledge.
- On June 5, the Park Alumni Society board shared a message through SPIFFY to Park Alumni, current Park Scholars, and involved NC State faculty stating their commitment to the work of anti-racism and promising community events to gather and move forward with action.
- On June 18, the Park Scholarships program sent current students a message with resources compiled by Park Scholars, alumni, and staff regarding ways to get involved with efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within the program, at NC State, and beyond, as well as places for finding community and connection at NC State.
- On June 25, the Park Scholarships program shared a message with Park Scholars in the Classes of 2000-2024 about ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion work within the program and ways for both students and alumni to get involved.
- On July 8, at the suggestion of the Park Alumni Society board, Park Scholarships hosted two virtual events to provide updates and facilitate discussion about the program’s work related to diversity, equity, and inclusion broadly and to anti-racism and support for its Black community specifically. One was held for Park alumni and another was held for current students. Twenty-six alumni, fourteen students, six staff members, and one Park Faculty Scholar attended either or both of the sessions.
- On July 10, Park Scholarships shared a version of the June 25 update on diversity, equity, and inclusion work with members of the Selection Committee.
- On July 13, additional community resources were added to an existing diversity page on the Park Scholarships website, as well as a new page with details about several of the diversity initiatives underway. This information was shared on social media.
- In mid-July, the Park Scholarships staff became aware of two open letters written and circulated by Park alumni. Eva Feucht ’02 shared a brief message requesting that Park Scholars keep responses focused on the shared goal of strengthening the ability of the Park Scholarships program to address critical challenges. On July 17, Feucht received two of the letters. She sent an initial reply, affirming the program’s commitment to anti-racism, and provided a detailed response to the letter’s suggestions on Aug. 31.
The Park Scholarships program is part of the broader NC State community working together to uphold the university’s core values of integrity, freedom, respect, responsibility, stewardship, and excellence. NC State leaders have issued several statements condemning racial injustice and affirming the university’s commitment to promote and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity created a summary of those messages and Chancellor Woodson’s statements are available online.
Updated Aug. 31, 2020