The following statements were issued in response to the recent and tragic news of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, and the reaction of United States citizens to this and other examples of the violence and continued racism against people of color.
WCET Statement to Our Members - June 5, 2020
The violent acts committed against Black Americans, highlighted by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, are the most recent examples of systemic racism against people of color in our nation and our world. As do you, we wonder what can be done?
Our team comes together each day to do our work because we believe in the power of education to improve lives. But education, like many of the benefits of our society, is not equally accessible to everyone. Even in our colleges and universities there remains extraordinary resource disparities between institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted inequities experienced by students in access to support services (such as mental and physical health services), educational technologies, broadband, and student financial aid.
WCET is committed to work that expands access to high-quality technology-enhanced educational opportunities to all students, especially students of color and students from other historically underserved communities. As a team, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, but we know that is not enough; we need to do better as an organization. To that end, WCET is taking some actions:
- We will evaluate our internal culture and practices to make sure we are doing all we can to be a more inclusive workplace and are "walking our talk."
- We will work with members to improve our external culture and practices in seeking out, welcoming, and serving diverse populations. This requires reviewing our services, resources, membership recruitment, and leadership opportunities.
- We will undertake and amplify research that will help higher education in general, but educational technology leaders more specifically, understand the intersections between race, gender, economics, and sexuality and educational equity, especially in online and hybrid education. This is especially critical given the disproportionate impact on students of color of last term's move to remote instruction and the coming technology-enhanced variations of future terms.
If you have ideas for how we can do better, please share them with us.
Most importantly, WCET stands with our community against racist actions, incendiary statements, and violence against people of color. This means we must engage individuals throughout our member community in tough conversations about inequalities, identify the signs of systematic racism, and share proven solutions.
We choose to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Join us.
-Your WCET Staff
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Additionally, WCET serves as the intermediary for the Every Learner Everywhere Network, which is a network of 12 partner organizations that work on the potential to increase access and engagement, decrease costs, and improve outcomes for students, particularly low-income and first-generation students as well as students of color. To obtain perspective on the role of race in higher education, we highly recommend reading the article "George McLaurin and the Ongoing Fight Against Systemic Racism in Higher Education," written by the Jessica Rowland Williams, the Every Learner Everywhere Director.
WCET - WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
Every Learner Everywhere Stands Against Racial Injustice - June 5, 2020
The Every Learner Everywhere network shares the grief and outrage of communities nationwide generated by the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery.
These deaths are only the most recent tragic incidents in a long history of violence experienced by people of color as a result of the systemic racism that has plagued our nation for centuries. As a network, we affirm that Black lives matter, and stand with all individuals and organizations working to dismantle racism in all its forms wherever it is found. For our part, we will continue to promote anti-racist teaching and learning strategies and evidence-based solutions that elevate students of color to their rightful place alongside their white peers and support efforts to spread true racial justice and equity to higher education.
We will continue to amplify the voices of students of color and allow their experiences to guide our work. We will continue to challenge the status quo and lean into uncomfortable conversations about racial inequity in higher education. We will not be silent about injustice. Every Learner Everywhere stands united with all individuals and organizations working to advance the cause of racial justice in America.
Jessica Rowland Williams, Ph.D.
Every Learner Everywhere