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Response to Black Lives Matter Protests

The statement below is made with the unanimous consent of the faculty of the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech.

The events of the past weeks are a stark reminder of the legacy of systemic racism that has existed in our country for centuries. Members of our community -- both inside Geosciences and beyond -- are shocked and frightened by the tragic events we are witnessing. 

The Department of Geosciences stands with those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the long history of injustice in our society. Our department’s values affirm our commitment to act with integrity, to mentor our students, to treat each other with mutual respect, to create an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment for all, and to embody Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). These values summon us to stand up against racism, to call out injustice wherever we see it, and to set an example for those we are privileged to serve. We are heartsick over what is happening in Virginia and our country, and we call for an end to violence, restraint by those in power, and a national conversation that brings Americans together in service to our common values.

To our black students and people from all underrepresented groups and identities, we affirm that you are an integral part of the Geosciences family, and our support for you is unequivocal. In keeping with the higher ideals of the United States, we find our strength in our diversity. Those of us in positions of privilege must continually challenge ourselves to see that privilege, and to use it in service of equity and equality. We can only advance our department’s mission of discovery and learning when all of us, regardless of race, gender, identity, or background, have the opportunity to contribute. We endorse the statement released by VT President Sands and Vice President Pratt-Clarke, calling on us all to “construct a microcosm of the society in which we wish to live.” And we reiterate their list of resources for those in the Virginia Tech community in need of support:

Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.