Discrimination has no place in our society or at Western

Dear WMU community,

Through the COVID-19 world health crisis over the past year, we have witnessed examples of the best in us: the heroism displayed by medical professionals and first responders here and across the globe putting their lives at risk to care for those sick with a novel, potentially deadly coronavirus for which vaccination has only recently become available.

We’ve also seen examples of the worst in humanity in connection with the pandemic: animus, discrimination and violence targeting individuals of Asian descent. Since early last year, the news of the growing impact of the virus has been accompanied by national news accounts of an increase in verbal and physical assaults and other reprehensible discriminatory behavior. Discrimination is not acceptable and has no place in our society or on our campus. We stand in solidarity with members of our community facing such harassment.

At WMU, we are proud we have a campus community representative of the world’s people. It is to our collective and individual benefit that one of the ways diversity is reflected here is through a confluence of cultures, ethnicities and national origins, including Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander. And we take it personally when people are maligned, marginalized or attacked because of who they are or are perceived to be.

As Board of Trustees Chair Lynn Chen-Zhang emphasized in a statement during the board’s meeting this past week, we stand united in rejecting discrimination and harassment of any kind targeting any people. We can do better as a society to fight racism in all its forms, and we must do better, she said. We as a community and as individuals can and must continue to commit ourselves to this work of creating a truly inclusive environment. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

So, as we start this week, remember that each one of us, without exception, is a valuable member of our community and worthy of respect, human dignity and inclusion. Each of us is responsible for keeping WMU a welcoming learning and working environment for all people to reach their full potential. Anything less diminishes our community as a whole and our collective purpose to be a place where all may learn.


Edward Montgomery, Ph.D.

Diane Anderson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Jennifer Bott, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Candy McCorkle, Ph.D.
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion