Message from President Downs: A Call for Open Dialogue

President Downs graphic

Dear students, faculty and staff,

It has been a time of grief and pain in our country as we mourn the death of George Floyd, and countless others before him. It has led to anger and unrest across the United States and in our own community – as well as sorrow in my heart, and, I’m sure, yours.

At Northern State University, we stand against racial injustice and violence. One of our campus values is community: building a culture of inclusion, belonging and collegiality that respects diversity in knowledge, culture and world view. We pride ourselves on being a safe, welcoming campus for all, often referring to Northern as a family, or a pack.

That means all members of our community are valued, and are treated with respect and dignity. It means that we listen to and learn from each other. We encourage and lift up each other’s voices – particularly those marginalized voices that are often not heard.

It also means that we watch out for each other. When members of our community are in pain, we help them and stand up for them. So today, I want to do that.

Today, I want to let students, faculty and staff of color know – and indeed, our entire campus community – that I am here for you.  However you’re feeling right now, Northern is here for each of you. Please reach out if you need help or someone to talk to, whether it’s to friends, colleagues, coaches, advisors or our Counseling Center.

As a nation, community and campus, we need to come together and find ways to build a better future. I truly believe higher education can play a role in that and be a catalyst for positive change by continuing to guide our students toward empathy, civil discourse, critical thinking and social responsibility.

Change starts with us, within our own community. We must all do our part so that Northern truly remains a community that is safe and welcoming for all.


President Downs