Dear Students and Recent Graduates,
We have often referred to our college atmosphere as a family. A family comes together
in times of challenge, holds each other accountable, builds each other up, and provides
a safe home for its members. We want you to know your College of Agriculture family
is here and listening. As we uphold LSU’s mission, we will continue to be “dedicated
to creating an inclusive and respectful environment that embraces individual differences
in race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression,
age, spirituality, socioeconomic status, disability, family status, experiences, opinions,
The recent murders and acts of violence against the Black community in our country
is unacceptable. What has been brought to light in the recent events represents years
of oppression of the Black community, and it is not enough to passively oppose racist
acts of violence or speech. As we think about our role within the lives of our students,
we want our College of Agriculture family to know, we stand with you as you struggle
to cope personally and fight for equity within society.
The staff members in the College of Agriculture Dean’s Office are committed to addressing
racism and advocating for the students we serve. We know we have much work to do,
and there is much more to this work than issuing a statement. We must be proactive
and challenge ourselves to think about the community we create.
As cultural inclusion is a priority in the mission of LSU, we want to share with you
some action steps we are taking as a staff and resources to use. We invite you to
offer feedback and suggestions of how we can do more.
- The College of Agriculture Dean’s Office staff is participating in a workshop with
guest speakers to lead a discussion on allyship and how we can use our roles to create
an inclusive community for our students. The office staff has also organized weekly
meetings to engage in discussions and reflection to rethink how we frame programming
and support for our students of color.
- The LSU Office of Diversity recently hosted a virtual town hall meeting to give insight
to how we can continue to work towards creating change towards acts of racism. Along
with the LSU administration, the college promoted and attended the event to listen,
learn, and be active in the discussion. We look forward to attending and promoting
continued open discussions for our students, faculty, and staff so we can develop
a vision for change.
- We are proud of our growing Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related
Sciences (MANRRS) chapter and the opportunity to see its members be recognized as
leaders across our college and the nation as they participate in regional and national
conferences. Our leadership is working with the members of MANRRS to develop more
meaningful ways to support this outstanding organization and expand their membership.
- The College of Agriculture Dean’s Office is working to implement additional training
and discussion opportunities regarding race, inclusion, and equity for key student
leadership groups within the college, including the Les Voyageurs, Peer Mentors, and
the Agriculture Student Association. We hope that by engaging our student leaders
in these conversations, they will carry the message into other organizations and share
with their peers.
- To those of you who have not personally experienced racism, you are now afforded the
opportunity for some reflection and growth, and we would like to share some anti-racism resources. It is critical that we promote change that allows the Black community to thrive and
advocate for Black Students. This starts with educating ourselves and doing some internal
We want you as students to feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts and feedback
with our staff. Our doors are always open, even if that is in a virtual capacity via
our Zoom rooms. Please reach out and share your voice so we can advocate for you.
While we serve in an academic capacity, we have the ability to connect you with a
support system that can assist with mental health counseling, group therapy, and general
student advocacy. The College of Agriculture Dean’s Office staff is here for you.
As we reflect, we need to continue to listen carefully. We know these small steps
are just a start to where we need to make committed efforts for change. The meaning
of family in the college becomes void if we are not listening to, learning from, and
making our home a safe place for all. We must acknowledge racial injustice and advocate
for our students of color. We are here. We are listening, and we plan to stay in the
conservation with you as long as it takes to get this right.
William B. Richardson
Former Dean and
LSU Vice President for Agriculture
June 12, 2020