A Letter from LTC President Dr. Paul Carlsen to our Community
Dear Lakeshore Technical College Community,
Over the last week, our collective attention has shifted from the COVID-19 pandemic to the protests across our nation following the death of George Floyd. We do not condone violence against any group of people or damage to property, and we recognize protests are often the last resort for any group whose voices have been silenced or ignored.
We know you are frightened.
We know you are frustrated and angry.
We hear you.
We see you.
We are here for you.
As an open-access, public institution, it is our responsibility to provide services and opportunities to all members of our community. Over recent years we have engaged the Lakeshore community in discussions on a wide variety of diversity-related topics pertinent to the changing needs of our community through various programming, like the Courageous Conversations series and the Lakeshore Diversity Summit.
As an institution of higher learning, we continue to research, collect, and analyze data to make decisions in the best interest of all members of our community. Just over a year ago, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) released the System-Wide Equity Report that examined data from each of the sixteen state technical colleges. While there were numerous findings in this report, data shows the WTCS underserves African-Americans both in employment and program completion when compared to other racial and ethnic groups. We acknowledge the existing institutional barriers which impede the goals and aspirations of people throughout the communities we serve.
While we do not have all of the answers, we know that doing nothing and ignoring the issue is not an option. We have a long history of racism in our country. While awareness of inequalities is one step, it is not the final step. Institutional inequalities do not disappear after a few seminars or speakers. Real change requires active, ongoing commitment from all stakeholders to reconcile the issues of our past and correct the systems that have fostered inequalities so all members of our community can fulfill their American dream.
We have significant work ahead of us as a college and a nation. It will not be easy. We will experience discomfort and be made aware of behaviors and systemic practices that are counterproductive to a fair, inclusive, and equitable society. We must listen to all members of our community and amplify the voices that have been silenced by fear and intimidation.
We must do more; we will do more.
Lakeshore Technical College has never been more committed to our mission to serve everyone in our community and help them on their path to their hopes and dreams. In the coming months, we will take further action toward meaningful change. We implore you to join us.
We will not be divided. Our unity is our strength, and together we will do great things.