Students - June 12, 2020

Dear Students:
As a follow up to my message from May 31, I want to share that the Winthrop family continues to stand in solidarity with our students, faculty and staff of color, who we know are vital to our institution. Black lives matter, and we are collectively witnessing America’s reaction to the continued acts of racial injustice and inequality that run deeply in this country. We can no longer stay silent or turn a blind eye to the ugly systemic practices and policies that led to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others before them. 

Winthrop acknowledges that people are in pain; people are angry and hurting. It becomes clearer each day the power of protests and bold demonstrations taking place across the world. It has ignited a national movement for change and accountability that centers on individuals’ worth and dignity.

Like others around the country, the Winthrop community has the responsibility to look in the mirror as well. While our black student numbers reflect the composition of our state and we tout our commitment to diversity with examples of mostly recent accomplishments, we can and must do better. Many of you have been amplifying your voices about how Winthrop can bring understanding and context to the spectrum of racism, oppression and privilege. How can we support our colleagues, students and friends of color? How do we hold Winthrop accountable to its commitment? How can individuals become effective allies? What actionable steps can we put in place beyond this moment that will have needed impact?

Over the last weeks, the university community – including the Division of Student Affairs and the Diversity Council – have worked together to brainstorm ways Winthrop can move forward to become better change agents. One of the first steps we plan to take is a series of virtual town hall sessions called Diversity Dialogues: A Discussion on Racism. The initial town hall will be Wednesday, June 17, at 1 p.m. and will be presented through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. I encourage everyone to attend.

During this session, I will be joining a dynamic panel of colleagues, including Provost Adrienne McCormick, Vice President for Student Affairs Shelia Burkhalter, Council of Student Leaders Chair-Elect Brandon Jackson and others to have a frank discussion on the detrimental effects of racism even within a community like Winthrop’s that has made progress where other state institutions have not.

The hope is that these candid dialogues will act as a springboard for creating action on campus, among friends and family, and in our home communities—anywhere that racist ideologies and unjust practices still reside. We need everyone to be engaged for change to occur. 

For now, find resources that aid in your own understanding of what’s happening in today’s world. For our students, additional help is available through Counseling Services. For faculty and staff, the university’s Employee Assistance Program services provider, McLaughlin Young, is here for you by accessing using the username "winthrop303" and password "guest".

We have much to be proud of in terms of our most recent diversity initiatives, but we can and must do more by taking a leadership role in battling racial injustice and inequality--not when it is convenient or when others have taken on the mantle, but rather when troubling times like these dictate action. I hope you will join me on Wednesday.


George W. Hynd
Interim President