The NECC and its Institutions Stand Together

The NECC and its Institutions Stand Together

The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) is proud of our diversity and better because of it. We stand beside our student-athletes, coaches and staff of color.  

Bay Path University

“At a time when our country is struggling with the isolation and fear brought upon us by the pandemic, we are now experiencing a new level of pain as we witness the horrific injustice that ended the life of George Floyd. We are sickened and enraged.

The names of those brutally subjected to historic oppression must echo in our hearts and minds and drive us to unite our voices in opposing hatred, racism, and violence. We must listen. We must learn. We must remember the work of our Diversity and Inclusion Council. And we must allow peace to guide our activism, or we risk perpetuating unspeakable acts of inhumanity. As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

I know within our own Bay Path community there is suffering. I urge you to reach out to Dean Anne Chapdelaine or to Elizabeth Cardona if you are in need of support. Our work to build inclusivity, to ensure tolerance and empathy, and to guarantee that every member feels valued and supported, has begun but we have many miles to go. The tragedies unfolding around us further fuel our conviction that there is more, so much more, that we must do.

Let us not allow hatred to tear us apart. Instead, let us ignite the power of peace to heal.
#justiceforgeorge”

-President Carol Leary

Becker College

"In a 1967 speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Stanford University, he said, “In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” The “Other America” speech was recently shared on Twitter by the King Center; I urge you to listen to this powerful message.

Now, 53 years later, we must ask ourselves this same question.

If you have been following the news, you have learned that the protests are not just about one person, George Floyd. They are about Rodney King in Los Angeles. Trayvon Martin in Florida. Michael Brown in Missouri. Philando Castile in Minnesota. Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. And so many more. As Floyd pleaded for his life, crying out, “I can’t breathe,” his words echoed those of the late Eric Garner in July 2014, who police had pinned to the ground on a New York City sidewalk.

If you have participated in any of the marches and protests, I commend you for taking action, which I hope was peaceful and safe. If you are experiencing distress, anxiety, or other emotional responses to the news and protests—on top of the challenges presented by the pandemic—please know that Becker provides a number of resources for you. No matter where you are right now, you are not alone. You are part of our Becker family, so please reach out if you need support.

We have all been affected and saddened by the tragic and violent events in Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities across the country. Using our voices to advance the message of equality, respect, dignity, and safety for all citizens is our right and privilege as AmericansAs I hear the stories of fear, pain, and frustration amplified from every news outlet, my heart breaks. I find myself as many do—searching for the right words.

A friend and colleague in higher education wrote in a letter to her community, “As a White-identifying woman of significant unearned privilege, I am keenly aware of my responsibility to move beyond performative words of support, do my own work to both learn and unlearn, and move into advocacy and action.”

Her words resonate with me, and for our entire community. It is vital for all of our voices to be heard. I urge our faculty to engage in civil and meaningful discourse with their students about these and other issues affecting our country. I ask our students to reach out and tell me what they want to happen at Becker College that will serve to ensure that the voices that make up the fabric of diversity in our campus culture are heard. What can we do better? What can we do differently? How can we, as a united community, move into action and advocacy?

In our role as educators, and in your role as a learner, we must work together to ensure our campus community as a whole, and each member of community individually, continue to raise our voices for those who have not been heard, and denounce, as Dr. King conveyed, the “conditions that continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn the riots.”

We look forward to being able to resume our campus life in the fall (more details will follow), to celebrate our diversity, and to engage in meaningful discussion on how we can affect positive change in our society.

I wish you all the best in the coming weeks. Stay safe and stay healthy."

-President Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.

Dean College

“Dean College has celebrated the lives of our students, faculty and staff from around the world for 155 years. The Dean Difference, implemented by all of us in our Community, demands equality and intolerance for racial injustice as we recognize the gifts that all members of our Community share with each other. We are anguished by the longstanding pain endured as a result of racial injustice and are committed to coming together as a community to listen, learn, grow and contribute toward progress in building a stronger, compassionate and more equitable democracy for all.

We mourn the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd and stand in unity recognizing the gift he was to his family and to his community. Through personal responsibility we all must take a stand against violence, racism and the injustice that prevails in its shadow. As faculty and staff, we will take concrete actions designed to deepen our collective understanding and empower our students as citizens.

Embracing social responsibility, including racial justice, is an essential value at the heart of the Dean College Mission Statement. Global and Intercultural Fluency, the “awareness and respect for commonalities across and differences between identities, cultures, experiences and/or global origins,” is one of our six Learning Goals. Collectively, these shape our holistic approach to education which prepares our students to have respect for all in the classroom, through co-curricular activities and in leadership and internship experiences and they inform our daily work. This summer, members of our faculty and staff will be engaged in professional development designed to infuse this Learning Goal, and others, with curricula and co-curricular practices to advance equity, both inside the classroom and in all of our campus life experiences. 

The Dean Difference ensures that each of our students can advance the cause of social justice in their lives and the lives of those that they encounter. Our future as a democracy requires that we stand in solidarity against racism and injustice. We must challenge each other to move to a place where justice prevails for all. 

Dean College reaffirms its values today and every day in our actions as we live our institutional Mission. 

Please join me in your own prayerfulness and actions to bring peace and comfort to those who need our support, our compassion and our willingness to listen and to hear their message.”

-President Dr. Paula M. Rooney

Eastern Nazarene College

“With a Broken Heart…

Our hearts are broken, our spirits are vexed, and yes, we are angry. We have witnessed yet another tragedy – a human being, created and loved by God, dying. Dying with a knee on his neck, crying for relief. We have witnessed another senseless murder of an African-American male. It was George Floyd last week. Before that it was Ahmaud Arbery…and Tamir Rice…and on and on.

Eastern Nazarene College affirms that in order for all human life to matter, black lives must matter. Black people, people of color, are made in the image and likeness of God – made with gifts, with talents, with genius, with value. Throughout the history of our nation, our brothers and sisters have systemically been and continue to be oppressed. We renounce this as sin. We lament the resultant suffering. We repent of any way in which we have been complicit. To our students and alumni of color, know that we value you, your safety, and your very life. Your story is an important part of the ENC story.

To our very diverse college community, our compassionate and loving community, we acknowledge your anger. Anger is the price we pay for paying attention to such outrageous acts of injustice. And righteous anger is what compels us to do the hard work of justice and reconciliation.

Eastern Nazarene College has committed itself to be a diverse community that values God’s unique creation lived out in the beautiful and complex stories of each person and each culture. We commit to be a place that continues to wrestle with and address the hard issues of our society, to be a place where we hear each other’s stories and build meaningful friendships, and to be a place that educates students to work toward justice and holiness. Because of these commitments, we seek anew to be faithful to our calling to bring about the redemptive purposes of God as articulated in the Lord’s prayer. Lord, help us be a community that never stops seeking and struggling for your Kingdom to come, your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, have mercy.”


-President Jack Connell

Elms College

“In recent days, you have had to endure the gruesome images over and over again: a white police officer, his hand in his pocket, ending the life of another human being, a black man. This took place for close to nine minutes while three other police officers looked on, in seemingly complete serenity and detachment.

You are probably angry. The images have outraged almost everyone. But especially if you are a black man, you could see yourself in George Floyd. Or if you are a black woman, you could see a brother, a cousin, an uncle, a father in George Floyd. I have had the same feelings; for the same reasons.

You are probably stunned. How could our nation, with all its intelligence and expertise, be handling this situation so poorly? It’s not enough that we are in the middle of a pandemic in which over 105,000 Americans (and counting) –disproportionately black and brown- have died, amidst ample evidence of gross incompetence and the inability to muster a basic level of human compassion. But now, the country’s leadership is missing opportunity after opportunity to make a credible appeal to calm and unity.

You are probably confused. The images of violence and looting are distracting from the main message of peaceful protesters: the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd is not the problem. It is the tip of an iceberg of centuries of systemic injustice and racism in the United States. And that system must be dismantled.

I am not writing to tell you how you should feel.

I believe deeply that each one of us sees the world through the lenses of our life experiences. A commitment to building an inclusive community starts by recognizing and respecting that we experience life differently because of the circumstances that have shaped us into who we are.

Amidst the anger, confusion, and chaos out there, I am writing to reaffirm our common commitment to an inclusive and just community. Elms College has a rich history and core values of faith, excellence, and community intertwined with the pursuit of justice.

The Elms College Black Issues Summit, a mere three months that seem like years ago now, highlighted the unequal access and opportunity for African-Americans to the basic human rights of health, housing, and education in the United States. Our commitment to an inclusive community starts with recognizing together the fundamental injustices in our society. It moves from there to a collective engagement to bring about a more just world, both in our little community and beyond.  

As former President Barack Obama said in a statement on Friday: “It falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station…to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

I am writing to invite each member of the Elms College community to recommit to that ideal of an inclusive community. As always, we can find inspiration in the selfless commitment to social justice of the college’s founders. In a statement yesterday, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield echoed the message of the Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Paul Minnesota, who expressed “their outrage at Mr. Floyd’s death, their empathy with those affected, and solidarity with the black community.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph’s message is a good call to hope and to action: “We need to imagine a society where the dignity and eternal value of each person is secure and let that be the measure of how we make decisions and choose our leaders.”

In the midst of the rightful anger, shock, and confusion, let us recommit Elms College to the hard work of a just and inclusive community.

In the next days and weeks, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will engage all members of the Elms College community in actions that we can take to bring that aspiration closer to reality.”

-President Harry E. Dumay, Ph.D., MBA

Lesley University

"The devastating death of George Floyd, and the outrage and protests that have followed, has left us all struggling – desperately – to find a way to ensure that the world is the place we want it to be and not the place that it is.

We at Lesley believe so strongly that we have a duty to ensure we are doing all we can to promote equality and address systemic injustice and racial discrimination wherever it exists. So how can we effect that change? How can Lesley’s core strengths in the arts of education, mental health, art, and building leaders enable us to help solve these seemingly intractable problems?

It would be imprudent to think the answers are easy because these are deep societal issues, but each of us has our own strength to add to the solution, be it through how we educate people to reverse the roots of racism, how we counsel people to see the lived experience of people other than usespecially those in vulnerable communities, or how we create art to illuminate what all of us need to see to effect change.

As each of you, and we as an institution, struggle with the role we can play in addressing this crisis in America and in taking action that is so critically necessary, I hope we will draw strength from our commitment to this goal, our unique talents, and our collective dedication to creating solutions. I hope you will also draw on all of the resources of this supportive community. These events will certainly be central as we explore diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community and beyond in the coming weeks and months."

- President Janet L. Steinmayer
 

Mitchell College 

“It has happened again: the heartbreaking and unjustifiable killing of George Floyd, a man whose name joins a long list of other men and women meeting the same fate. The protests and demonstrations around the country, and even the world, demand action to change our systems and proactively work with compassion to build a more equitable democracy.

By the very nature of our mission, Mitchell College “celebrates and develops the power of unique minds” and, by extension, celebrates and develops the power of the whole person – every person – to make a positive difference in society. As an institution of higher learning, we strive to equip our students with the tools and skills to not only succeed in a chosen profession but, more importantly, to thoughtfully and deliberately model a better world. This is achieved through critical and creative thinking; effective communication; understanding of diversity and global perspectives; information and communication technology; analysis and problem solving; values, ethics, and social responsibility; and social interaction.

The Mitchell community grieves and stands in solidarity with those who are oppressed. We embrace equality, value all human lives, and denounce acts of racism, discrimination, harassment and hate. Mitchell works purposefully to create a culture of diversity and inclusion on campus. We seek open dialogue among our students, faculty and staff about the most meaningful approaches to mitigate racial injustice and inequality in our society, whether on campus, in one’s hometown, across the country, or around the world.

As each of us grapples with unfolding events, we will find ways in the coming weeks and months to come together as a community to address these challenges and work towards change. If you have a story, tell it; if you hear a story, listen to learn. Practice empathy. It’s our collective responsibility. Everyone has the ability to play a part, and the time is now.”

-Interim President Catherine E. Wright, Ph.D.

New England College

“I am writing today to share some thoughts on what is taking place across the country in response to the death of George Floyd. I am also writing to issue a call to action for all members of our community, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, and all of the many supporters of New England College. Like you, I have seen the images of a black man robbed of his life at the hands of a law enforcement officer. As a citizen, I am outraged that these encounters, that lead to the harm or death of so many men and women of color, particularly black people, continue to be so common in our lives. As a mother, I am heartbroken to think of this young man’s family having to deal with the grief that accompanies such a loss. And as an educator, I am determined that we will begin here on our campuses in Henniker and Manchester to lead by example with a movement that celebrates diversity, overcomes inequality, and promotes the greatest antidote to racism – education. We can do more. We must do more. We will do more.

The violence across our country that has followed Mr. Floyd’s death is troubling. I certainly do not condone such lawlessness which has destroyed property, injured countless Americans, and led to an assault on police officers. Burning, looting, and vandalizing the communities we all so desperately want to support is not the answer. Still, I understand the frustration and the anger. Ta-Nehisi Coates, a well-known African American author, has written, “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.” Mr. Coates is quite right in his statement. The context of the African American experience is unique and different from that of so many others. The source of their anger and frustration is well known and articulated by Mr. Coates. We must come to understand this experience not as a history lesson but as part of our everyday lives. We can do more as a nation. We will do more in our college community. 

The way forward for our country and for our New England College community is clear. We must work to understand the history and experience of ALL Americans and not just a privileged few. We must work to teach and learn more about the psychology, history, and social science associated with institutionalized racism, prejudice, and discrimination. We must work to live lives dedicated to social justice and promoting access to the American promise for all who call this country and our campus home. We can do this. We will do this. 

Tomorrow, I will call upon my Senior Team to collaborate with our Offices of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Engagement, Academic Affairs, and the Student Senate to establish a Task Force to develop a commitment to realize America’s promise for all members of our community. My charge to this group is to develop programming, partnerships, and community gatherings for the coming year that focus on diversity, social justice, and activism. The efforts associated with this Task Force’s work will involve all members of our community and will take time. But, there is more that can be done immediately.

First, if we want to see change in our country, our states, and our communities, such change begins at the ballot box. I strongly encourage the members of our community to register and cast their vote wherever they call home. Our college’s commitment to civic engagement includes making the resources available so all community members know how and where to register along with the correct ways to vote absentee if appropriate.

Second, we will increase our support for community organizations whose focus is service to individuals who experience racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Developing partnerships that promote programming on campus, create volunteer opportunities at partner sites, and allow us to extend our educational mission to current and future students whose access to education is not guaranteed are among the ideas I am committed to develop further.

Third, I will be personally reaching out to our local and state elected officials to strongly encourage that we do more with them to help end racism in the communities they represent. I invite you to do the same and we will support your efforts if you choose to do so.

I know the greatest antidote to racism and ignorance is education. As Nelson Mandela so aptly said, “No-one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn hate, they can be taught love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

As responsible and engaged citizens, it is our duty to speak out against injustice wherever we see it. But, words are not enough. We must do more. There is a great deal of work ahead of us. I am committed to this work. I invite you to join me. There is little more important than taking a stand for justice in our world today.”

-President Dr. Michele Perkins

ABOUT THE NECC 

The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.