A personal statement from Dean Louis Martin-Vega for the College of Engineering community

Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering

Yesterday NC State Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson released the university statement,  Standing with our Asian and Asian American Community (https://leadership.ncsu.edu/chancellor). The College of Engineering stands in solidarity with that statement and with our Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

This week’s tragedy in Atlanta brings heartache, pain and grief as we mourn the eight lives, including six lives from the AAPI community,  lost to this senseless act of violence. Our College of Engineering family sympathizes and strives to empathize with the anguish, anger, fear and grief that being Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander in America sometimes entails.

Sadly, we are seeing more and more incidents of anti-Asian violence across the United States since the start of COVID-19.  The bullying, verbal harassment and physical attacks against Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has no justification and simply needs to stop. Any form of racism, especially racial violence goes against the values we hold in our community.

Our College of Engineering family is fortunate to include many Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander faculty, staff and students who contribute significantly to the research, education and outreach mission of our College. They also make us a more diverse community and play a critical role in all of us better understanding and driving innovation and solutions to the issues that confront our society.  While these contributions are recognized and celebrated, it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to make sure our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander faculty, students, and staff feel safe and supported.

We must be bold in continuing to stand together with all marginalized groups to combat racism and keep a spotlight on this critical issue. I have already asked all of our Department and Unit Heads to commit themselves in even greater and more purposeful ways to the sustained recruitment and retention of a much more diverse faculty, student body and staff. Additionally, I have appointed a Special Advisor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives for the College to help guide these efforts.

It is also important to acknowledge that the stress that daily life brings because of COVID-19 and the racial climate of our country can be overwhelming.  With this in mind I also urge all faculty, staff and students to utilize the free support resources available through our NC State Counseling Center for students (virtual appointments are available), and through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program for employees as needed.

As the Chancellor has stated, we must work tirelessly, together, to ensure a welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment where our Asian and AAPI community, and all in our Pack, can thrive. Please be assured that the College of Engineering will always make this our priority —–understanding that we will never be the College, University or Country that we should aspire to be until we have all  become “one” with equal opportunity for all and bias toward none.