Message of unity from Waukesha County Technical College President Kaylen Betzig
I am saddened, my heart hurts, and, yet another Black person has needlessly lost their life. The tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are to be condemned. We mourn with their families, friends and loved ones and call for justice to prevail. Racial discrimination incidents, as experienced by Christian Cooper, are occurrences that happen to people of color on a daily basis. We must speak out and not be silent on these racial discrimination issues that have a significant impact on Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) students and employees of color.
WCTC is committed to a learning environment where all people are welcomed. WCTC has much more to do to improve. I had a very deep conversation with the President’s Executive Cabinet (PEC), and we are all in agreement that the following steps will occur to address the critical issues surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and the success of diverse faculty, staff and students at WCTC:
- Immediately, the Director of Compliance and Equity (Sherry Simmons) will serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet (PEC) to bring a voice to the table on diversity, equity and inclusion in our decision-making processes.
- Sherry will work directly with the PEC and a newly created team of faculty, staff and students to develop a 30-, 60- and 90-day action plan and develop metrics to change the College environment in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The WCTC community professed our values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion many times. However, our previous efforts have not resulted in true systemic changes. All faculty, staff and students have the responsibility to uphold those values and commitment. As president, I expect all faculty, staff and students to contribute to a diverse, respectful and inclusive environment at WCTC. As individuals employed and attending an institution of higher education, we have the opportunity to be community leaders in how we address the issues of racism and hatred. I am looking to you to help me, the PEC, the WCTC District Board and our community to not only reflect, but demonstrate through our actions our commitment to those values.
Here are some ways students, staff and faculty can connect with WCTC resources to learn about and advocate for positive change:
- Explore the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) webpage for opportunities to learn with other student peers and offer support to those who have been impacted by recent events of racism, injustice, violence and bias.
- Check out material on diversity, equity and inclusion from the WCTC Library, including access to more than 10,000 full-text digital resources published in 2020 on the subjects of diversity, equity or inclusion.
- Connect with one of WCTC’s licensed professional counselors, who can provide a safe space for you to explore the complex emotions you may be feeling.
WCTC leadership has the goal that our actions must align with integrity to our beliefs as we seek to better serve our students, each other and our communities. May we all be granted with healing and wisdom commensurate with our sincerity in exemplifying true kindness and respect for all individuals.
Kaylen M. Betzig, President
Waukesha County Technical College